MILAN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Italian food company Barilla is to spend around 50 million euros ($53 million) on increasing production of pasta sauces to meet rising demand from consumers, the company said on Thursday.
Under the investment plan the company intends to expand the group's dedicated plant near Parma, in northern Italy, making it the largest producer of pasta sauces in Europe, with up to 122,000 tonnes a year.
Once completed, the expansion will enable the plant to produce meat-based sauces in addition to the existing range of pesto, vegetable and tomato-based sauces.
The family-owned group, which is the world's biggest pasta producer and third largest maker of sauces, opened the plant in 2012 and has since increased its sales of sauces by 45 percent. ($1=0.9381 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Greg Mahlich)