The New Covent Garden Food Co is to make its national TV debut to support an overhaul of its fresh soups portfolio, with its first single-serve format and six new flavours.

A premium variant, Salmon & Watercress, will join Plum Tomato & Mascarpone; Tomato & Chunky Veg; Sweet Potato & Corn Chowder; Creamy Parsnip; and Cauliflower & Mature Cheddar next week in the new line-up, while improved recipes are being introduced to key flavours.

The packaging design on the traditional 600g cartons has also been revamped as part of the activity, featuring descriptions of the ingredients more prominently.

The brand is backing the activity with a £2m marketing push, including a national TV debut in a sponsorship deal with new ITV series Britain's Best Dishes, which airs for the next six weeks.

The investment forms parts of the company's £3.5m spend this year and will add major impetus to the brand, said group marketing director Nigel Parrott.

"The programme will engage food enthusiasts throughout Britain and will introduce our soups to new consumers during a key sales period for fresh soups. New flavours will help the brand's reputation for innovative use of natural ingredients and for producing 'food as it should be'," he added.

The fresh soup market is growing 6.1% in value. The New Covent Garden brand is growing at more than twice that rate - up 13.8% - and it accounts for 49.4% of the sector, according to Nielsen [MAT 52 w/e 11 August, 2007].

Parrott added that the initial reaction from buyers had been extremely positive, with the recognition that the overhaul indicated a "wide-ranging strategic brand development" in order to maintain its leadership in the chilled category.

The company is also extending its carton format into the single-serve market with the introduction of 300g cartons in four flavours, priced at £1.39.