In a bid to reignite the overly promoted bagel category, New York Bakery Co is increasing the size of its bagels and making them softer and "more New York" style.

The reformulated bagels will be more than 10% bigger (rsp: £1.29 for five) and their relaunch will be supported by a £2.4m TV and poster push from 19 January.

Although the Maple Leaf-owned brand has a 47% share of the market and enjoyed 1.4% value growth over the past year, the £46.6m bagel category has slumped 4.9% in value and 8.4% in volume [Nielsen MAT 30 October].

A period of "heavy trading" and promotional activity had failed to grow sales, said marketing director Simon Foster, and new product development was required to inject fresh value into the category.

"There are a lot of price wars going on, particularly in bread," he said. "The buyers need somebody to drive value in the category and we're the ones who will assist them. There needed to be reinvestment."

The reformulated bagels were more akin in style to those produced in New York, where competition had seen bagels become larger and softer and more suited for sandwiches, not just toasting, he said.

They would also come in bolder packaging to increase shelf standout and a new wholemeal variant has been added to the line-up this month, increasing it to five.

Research carried out by NYBC had shown that bagel consumers tended to be more upmarket and so less price-sensitive, said Foster, so there was no need for the constant promotions.