Muesli and snack bar brand Alpen is expanding into the burgeoning porridge category. 

Alpen Porridge, which contains rolled oats, Alpen wheat flakes, raisins, nuts and fruit pieces, is pitched at adults and will be available in three variants that must be mixed with hot milk: fruit & nut; raspberry, apple & raisin; and blueberry, cranberry & nuts.

The porridge market’s current offerings were perceived as fairly plain or created using flavourings, claimed Alpen brand manager Hannah Blackburn. “We saw there was nothing with added ‘bits’ so we took our muesli learnings and put it into a porridge,” she said. Sixty per cent of Alpen muesli consumers ate hot cereals in the winter but added their own toppings, she said.

The products, which will be launched in Tesco next week before rolling out to Morrisons at the end of the month, carry a £2.59 rsp for eight sachets but will initially be available at £2 to encourage trial. The launch will be supported by social media and a TV ad that kicks off in January.

Alpen plans to launch a mixed pack of six sachets for the convenience channel and develop ready-to eat porridge pots next year. In muesli, it will launch an apricot and almond variant and apricot and yoghurt flavoured bars in January.

Hot cereals have grown 17% by value [Nielsen 52w/e 17 September 2011], outpacing the 1% increase in sales in the ready-to-eat cereal category. Volume sales of Alpen have remained flat over the past year but are up 6% by value to £29m.