Unilever Bestfoods has delayed the relaunch of its flagship pasta sauce brand Ragu to avoid clashing with the relaunch of rival brand, Masterfoods-owned Dolmio.
Both brands had planned to relaunch their product ranges this autumn (MW June 5), but industry insiders say that Unilever decided to delay its plans to develop a new look and marketing campaign until next year, because Masterfoods was further ahead with its new strategy.
The Dolmio range has already been updated and the new look is on store shelves now. It has also launched an advertising campaign, which features animated characters called the Dolmio family.
The new creative work consolidates all of the brand’s advertising in one campaign. The advertising for Dolmio had begun to move away from using traditional Italian associations with the launch campaign for its Express pasta and sauces range, which focused on the convenience of the microwaveable products.
It is understood that Unilever is planning to invest about &£10m in relaunching and marketing its Ragu brand, which lags behind its rival. According to Taylor Nelson Sofres figures, Dolmio is the top-selling liquid pasta sauce brand and its Stir-In variant is in second place.
Insiders say they hope that the relaunches will breathe new life into the liquid pasta sauce category, which has seen little innovation in recent years.