The brand is looking to expand into ready meals for the first time in 2020 with the launch of Whitworths Protein by Nature, a plant-based convenient range of protein-packed pouches.
The six-strong range will include Mediterranean Tabbouleh, Moroccan Tagine and Indian Lentil Dhal, among others.
The news comes as the company announced a £50m reduction in turnover year on year for the period ending 29 December 2018.
Whitworths announced the decline, based on the 52-week period, versus the 61-week period of the previous financial year, which also included November and December 2016 – key sales months for the company.
The loss of an undisclosed contract on 18 March has been cited as a key driver in the downturn.
“This period, turnover has decreased to £117.8m,” the firm’s strategic report confirmed.
“The decrease has been driven by the change in the accounting date and the turnover has also been adversely impacted by price pressure from the major retailers and strategic decisions to exit certain products not considered core to the business and that were not contributing to profit.”
Despite the overall decline, the Whitworths brand has seen underlying growth in the last financial year. Now in its 13th consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth, the brand continues to grow in the market, driven by new channel distribution, promotional plans and NPD launches.
Mark Fairweather, Whitworths’ CEO, said: “Like much of the industry, we are operating in a challenging trading environment, and although the headline numbers show an overall decline in turnover and profit, it’s clear FY2018 has seen significant progress in our core business despite a number of market-wide challenges.
“This performance and results are building the foundations for the years ahead, with new business wins, continuous improvement plans, increased productivity through factory redevelopment and some exciting brand growth on the horizon.”