Sainsbury's is overhauling its sweet treats, homebaking and confectionery ahead of a major summer push for the categories.

The supermarket told The Grocer its summer NPD would centre on themes of family treats and sharing and had targeted desserts and home-baking as areas for improvement.

From May, Sainsbury's is adding new lines across the entire desserts fixture to rival the upmarket offerings of Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

"Across the whole of summer we have a lot more NPD for 2010 than we'd usually have," said Susi Richards, head of development at Sainsbury's.

"In the dessert area we hadn't really compared favourably with Waitrose and M&S, so for May we are re-launching our entire dessert offer."

"We are really focused on products that look visually stunning but made as you would at home, so we have made changes in our ­supplier base so that they have the capabilities to make top-quality fresh ­desserts from scratch."

As well as the April launch of a US-style ice cream line pitched to compete with Ben & Jerry's, Sainsbury's will introduce an old-fashioned confectionery range called Sweetshop and an extension of its Eric the Elephant-branded sweets that includes moves into soft drinks and gifting.

The retailer hoped "to make Sainsbury's the destination shop for home-baking with an expansion of the home-baking range from August," said brand manager Kate Bailey.

Sainsbury's also announced the relaunch of its entire range of gluten, wheat and dairy-free foods. From next week, it will stock 229 free-from lines more than any other supermarket including 26 new and repackaged own-label Freefrom offerings and 64 new branded lines.

The Freefrom lines would include what Sainsbury's claims are the UK's first free-from lunchtime pouches to be taken to work and re-heated.

Other NPD in the range includes pasta dishes, puddings and cakes.