The brand is now poised for a major re-entry into the vegetarian retail market through new owner Nando's, the sauces and marinades producer which acquired Cranks in January. Nando's Grocery managing director Phil Lynas wants to make Cranks a rival to Linda McCartney. "Cranks is a great brand. It's the original vegetarian brand and is already the third most recognised health and vegetarian brand in the UK. We plan to develop it on a number of fronts. In retail we're developing a range of chilled and fresh products. The first of these, a range of three chilled soups, appeared in January and is in Sainsbury. We are also trialling sandwiches in Sainsbury, and plan to do the same in Waitrose along with prepared salads. "We are also looking at ready meals, cakes and patisserie, and maybe fruit juices. There will be a number of launches this year. Our target audience will be meat reducers, the largest market, rather than pure vegetarians," says Lynas. In foodservice, Lynas plans to develop Cranks' presence in contract caterers Sodhexho and Compass, and to create a branded offer for motorway service areas. The five London restaurants have closed, but Nando's is retaining the most successful outlet in Dartington, Devon. "It will be run as a a point of reference for the brand," says Lynas. To distance Nando's ­ a brand strongly associated with chicken, particularly through its restaurant chain ­ from Cranks, the two operations will be run and managed by two separate companies, says Lynas. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}