Four brands were among the winners picked by The Grocer's judging panel from more than 100 entries of outstanding quality. Sarah Hardcastle reports Pasta has everything going for it. It's tasty, easy to prepare, healthy and nutritious. It's also versatile, inexpensive, loved by kids and fun to eat. Adding to its virtues, the market is growing rapidly (up 10% says TN Sofres Superpanel) boosted by the huge amount of new product development by brand manufacturers and own label. To encourage innovation and increase consumption the UK pasta industry, in conjunction with The Grocer, runs the annual Pasta Challenge Product of the Year awards for the best new pasta products and sauces. This year's event was the best ever, attracting more than 100 entries of such high quality that choosing the six winners from a shortlist of 36 was a real challenge for the judging panel. Karen Dempsey, marketing editor of The Grocer who chaired the panel, says the wide range of entries was impressive. "It's been a great year for innovation in the pasta category with some truly original products coming on to the market." The six winners include four brands, providing retailers with a ready made solution on what to stock next. Judging panel: Karen Dempsey, The Grocer marketing editor Sarah Jane Evans, BBC Good Food Magazine associate editor Gwyn Morgan, retired from Heinz and now an independent procurement consultant Michael Mackenzie, Food & Drink Federation director general Sainsbury's Be Good to Yourself Tuna Fusilli Winner ­ canned Pasta twists and tuna in a rich tomato sauce, plus a 98% fat free claim, all in a 400g ringpull can at 99p rsp. Made by HL Foods, it's an addition to the multiple's Be Good to Yourself low fat range. The judges thought it was a "refreshing change, very appetising" and a product they would buy again. Ross Pasta Fasta Winner ­ wet new category A range of three pasta snack pots in bolognese, carbonara and cheese flavours designed for microwaving and eating straight from the pot. Made by RVP Foods, rsp is 99p for 300g. The judges thought it a genuinely innovative product and a "clever idea that actually tastes good too". Marks & Spencer Bolognese Pasta Shells Winner ­ chilled/fresh Part of the multiple's relaunched Italia range, it has large conchiglie pasta shells stuffed with bolognese sauce and topped with a creamy cheese sauce. Rsp is £3.99 for 780g. "Tasting as good as home made" was the judges' glowing comment. La Terra E Il Cielo Dry Pasta range Winner ­ organic A large range of dry organic pasta producted by traditional methods by a co-operative in central Italy and marketed in the UK by Country Organics. Noted for its shapes and flavours, the range includes spaghetti with nettles, strozzapreti with chilli and tricolore with tomato. Alphabet pasta and wholewheat gnocchi are among the other shapes. Prices range from 99p to £2.50. The judges were enthusiastic, praising it as "highly innovative with lots of imagination creating a really different range of great tasting pasta". Loyd Grossman Dry Pasta range Winner ­ dry new category A premium range made with 100% desert durum wheat semolina ­ the best available ­ and produced by traditional bronze dies to give a slightly rough texture that holds sauce better than standard dry products. Made by Pasta Foods, the 500g range comes in three shapes: penne, fusilli and radiatore, and two long formats: spaghetti and spaghetti alla chitarra (square shape). Rsp is 99p and £1.20 for the radiatore and the square spaghetti. The range won on its "excellent taste and texture, good finished shapes and well designed packaging", according to the judges. Carluccio's Ragu Al Cinghiale Sauce Winner ­ pasta sauces This wild boar ragu based on a traditional Northern Italian recipe owes its distinctive gamey flavour to a high content (35%) of wild boar, plus Barbera red wine, extra virgin olive oil, pork, garlic and tomato. Rsp is £4.25 for 180g jar. "A wonderful intensity of flavour that tastes home made" is how the judges summed it up. Asda Fresh Sauces Highly commended ­ pasta sauces Made by Hazlewood Convenience Foods, the range of eight fresh sauces includes favourites such as carbonara, mushroom & mascarpone, four cheeses, napoletana, arrabbiata, tomato & mascarpone, beef bolognese, red pepper and less than 10% fat. Relaunched this March in 350g pots, the range is priced from 89p to £1.49. Best seller is tomato & mascarpone. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}