Ambient Italian foods specialist Sacla' is making its first foray into fresh this summer with the launch of a 20-strong range of pasta, pesto and sauces.

Claiming the chilled cabinet was "virtually bereft of brands", the company said it would transform the category by offering a one-stop pasta meal solution.

Among the products all to serve two are pesto (rsp: £3.29), pasta sauces (rsp: £2.99) and Intense sauces (rsp: £2.99), which include flavours such as artichoke & basil and asparagus & white wine.

The fresh pasta line-up (rsp: £1.99) comprises tagliatelle, tagliarini, orecchiette and trofie, the shape traditionally eaten with pesto in Italy. The products typically have a 25-day shelf-life.

"The idea is to allow consumers to create a meal with pasta and a sauce or pesto," said Sacla' UK managing director Clare Blampied, adding that promotional activity would include meal deals.

"Pasta does well from Monday to Thursday, but tends to tail off a bit at the weekend," she said. "We are trying to elevate pasta from being a convenience food to something you might have on a Friday night instead of a takeaway."

Blampied admitted the range was "pushing the boundaries" on retail price for pasta and pasta sauces. But she claimed consumers would be willing to pay for quality, authenticity and provenance. The range, which has been created specifically for the UK market, is produced at a 5m purpose-built facility in Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy.

"Fresh has been on the cards for a long while [for Sacla'] but development has been in earnest for the past few years," said Blampied, adding that fresh production allowed Sacla' to utilise ingredients the company was unable to use in its ambient range, such as asparagus.

The company had plans to expand the fresh range, which has secured one national listing with a multiple retailer already, she said. "Lots of NPD is important to maintaining interest in the chiller."