The New Covent Garden Food Co is shaking up its chilled soups portfolio by introducing new flavours, improved recipes and its first family-sized range to broaden the brand’s appeal.

The Daniels Group subsidiary is putting £1.5m behind the push, which will include renewed sponsorship of ITV series Britain’s Best Dish, and claims the changes are the brand’s biggest product development initiative to date.

The new family-friendly range, which consists of 1kg-sized soup cartons, will initially be available in a plum tomato & mascarpone and a winter vegetable variant and is being launched next month, rsp: £2.99.

Further flavours would join the line-up early next year “if the concept takes off”, said Nigel Parrott, group marketing director.

“There is huge potential for chilled soups in families as only 27% of households with kids buy into the sector,” he said. “Families tend to switch to ambient when kids enter the scene and we want to change that.”

The company is also continuing to target the single-serve market, which it entered last year, by launching one of its best-selling 600g soups, plum tomato & basil, in a 300g pack format.

It is building on its 600g menu by introducing five new flavours to the core range, including root vegetable & rosemary, Mediterranean vegetable & herb, chicken mulligatawny and the company’s first Scottish recipe, Cock-a-Leekie.

Several of the 600g soups have also been improved with better quality ingredients, which will be highlighted on-pack with a ‘Even Better Recipe’ flash.

Sales of the New Covent Garden range grew 10.3% to £53m [IRI 52 w/e to 14 June 2008]. Parrott predicted growth of 15% next year on the back of the changes. Sales of total chilled soup were up 6.8% to £109m.