RVP Foods, which makes Oriental Express, hopes that its new range of ready meals will help Chinese overtake Italian in frozen ready meals. The company backs up its claim with figures from Taylor Nelson Sofres, saying that Chinese frozen ready meals account for £92m and are growing at 22% year on year [52 weeks to August 2000]. The Italian frozen ready meals sector accounts for £98m but is down 1%. RVP points out that at these growth rates Chinese will overtake Italian within six months. RVP business development director Sandy Sewell said: "In many ways Italian is where it all started but it doesn't have a brand to champion the sector. Lack of innovation and support means it's losing ground to Chinese." The new Oriental Express products are in its 99p range of ready meals. The new variants are Sweet & Sour Chicken with White Rice, Chinese Chicken Curry with White Rice, Lemon Chicken with White Rice and Chicken Chow Mein. Sewell said the Chinese 99p ready meal is a £10m incremental opportunity for retailers. He said: "This is a good opportunity for the brand because Oriental Express is not only the driving force in Chinese food, it is one of the fastest growing brands in the frozen sector." {{P&P }}