Product development manager Emily Winters blogs about the tasty and colourful new additions to our picnic and summer food range and the inspiration behind them

We’ve got lots of fantastic new additions to our picnic and summer food range this year and I’m excited to see customers’ reaction after all the planning and work that’s gone in over the past year.

In the planning phase we work closely with the Asda innovations team who make sure we’re across all of the emerging trends. We also spend a lot of time in stores looking at gaps in existing ranges – and going on inspiration trips to spark new ideas to work on with our suppliers.

Some of the trends we’ve been focusing on are not just about new flavours and cuisines – but about the whole “experience”, including colour. So look out for some stunning colours on the summer food shelves. We’ve got a bright green Pea, Spinach and Mint Dip which is already proving popular – one customer left a review saying: "We loved this! A pleasant and tasty change to houmous! Highly recommend this, it's delish!"

It's definitely one of my favourites. It’s something a little different to your traditional sour cream dip – and it's suitable for vegans. I’m not personally vegan but it's delicious – you’re not compromising on flavour at all. It’s really multi functional too. It’s lovely as a dip but it also works well in recipes, like as a topping for fish.

We already have other great summer products that are suitable for vegans but we’ve added even more this year – including Smashed Avocado, Beetroot Houmous, Lentil Dhal Dip, Supergreen & Quinoa Salad and Middle Eastern Rice Salad. And we've also tweaked the recipe for our popular Sweet Potato Falafel to make it suitable for vegans. All of our vegan products have been approved by the Vegan Society.

Tapas continues to get more and more popular. I think it’s partly because the dishes work for all sorts of occasions – whether it’s something tasty for lunch, for picnics, snacking, just for yourself on a Saturday night, or maybe for a big BBQ with family and friends.

Some of our tasty new tapas dishes include Feta Stuffed Halkidiki Olives, Mushroom Arancini, Spinach & Feta Parcels, Balsamic-glazed Mini Spanish Chorizo Sausages, Red Cherry Peppers Stuffed with Houmous and our Mini Pork & Chorizo Pies.

I love our Smoky Paprika Halkidiki Olives too – they’re a really good quality olive and it’s a nice spicy marinade, it’s really vibrant, colourful and delivers a really good flavour.

Another important factor for us is making sure our packaging helps people make decisions on healthy eating. High protein and high fibre products are really important for some of our customers at the moment so we want to make sure we’re flagging this on relevant products wherever we can.

When we were developing some of the new additions we looked at ways of keeping the calories as low as possible without impacting on the flavour. For example, our new Pink Yogurt Dressed Slaw is naturally low in calories because it’s yoghurt-based but it’s also got beetroot in there so it’s tasty and naturally colourful and vibrant.

Of course, alongside the new additions, we’ve still got all the classics customers love – including our Extra Special Coleslaw, which continues to be a real hit! Take a look at the great range and new additions in selected stores and online now.