New Covent Garden Food has withdrawn from the fresh pasta sauce category after a two-year stint.

The company said it pulled out of chilled sauces to concentrate on its soups as well as its growing portfolio of ready-to-eat products, which include risotto and porridge, but it is believed that sales were below expectations. New Covent Garden launched its chilled sauces back in 2004 when there was little brand presence in the category, but its withdrawal comes as other brands make an appearance. Last month Sacla' launched a chilled pesto and two stir-through sauces and Sharwood's also recently launched a range of chilled ethnic sauces.

The company is adding an asparagus variant to its risotto range - the first truly vegetarian option - this month and is also launching press adverts based around a 'food as it should be' positioning. The first will feature its plum tomato & crème fraiche soup, with the strapline 'Eat fresh soup for goodness' sake'.