Tabasco has unveiled its new chilled pizza line-up, its first range of branded products outside the hot sauce category.

The three-strong Tabasco Spicy Pizza range is in Tesco now with an rsp of £3.99 the same price as the Pizza Express range and will hit other retailers in autumn.

The tomato passata used on all three variants Sizzling Pepperoni, Spicy Meatball and Smokin' BBQ all contain the sauce, as do the meatballs and chicken pieces.

The move into pizzas was a natural extension for the Louisiana-based company because many consumers were already adding Tabasco to the toppings, said head of partnership Frank Bartlett.

The range is being produced under licence by Bakkavör the manufacturing partner for Peperami-branded microwaveable pizzas, which were launched last month and Bartlett predicted it would even appeal to new consumers who thought they didn't like the sauce.

"The Tabasco company is extremely selective about who it grants licensing rights to, but these pizzas will help communicate that Tabasco is about flavour not just heat," said Bartlett. "It would have been easy for us to make the hottest pizzas ever and there is lots of growth in spicy hot products at the moment, but we want to highlight the flavour of Tabasco."

Bartlett denied the move was in response to the growing number of hot sauce brands on retailer shelves, and said sales of its market-leading Tabasco Red sauce had risen 11.4% in value to £3.12m and 8.6% in volume [Nielsen 52w/e 7 August 2010].