With dry pasta growth at a standstill, largely due to own label driving down prices in value lines, brand leader Buitoni is taking steps to reinvigorate the sector with a major category management programme. Having researched how consumers shop the category, Buitoni has found the pasta fixture in most stores rarely reflects the way consumers choose their pasta purchases. "Most fixtures mix brands and shapes with no clear distinction to guide consumer choice. It can be confusing and not particularly inspiring," says senior brand manager Eileen Friend. "We believe the route to unlocking the sector's potential is to segment by meal occasions ­ which is the way consumers purchase ­ rather than by pasta formats." Buitoni recommends segmenting into three main groups: - own label and quick cook varieties for quick, everyday meals - mainstream products, like Buitoni, bought for social and family occasions - authentic, more upmarket products, for foodies with premium needs. Friend says Buitoni is working with Safeway to re-segment its fixture in line with this approach, and is in discussion with Asda and Tesco. "We'll also be offering it to independents, but for them it will have to be adapted to reflect individual customer profiles," says Friend. "We think it is a real opportunity to inspire consumers to eat more pasta. If the current status quo continues, value will be driven out of the market by increasing commoditisation." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}