Premium confectionery supplier The Jelly Bean Factory has set its sights on the kids’ market for the first time.

The Irish business, which sells its “gourmet” jelly beans through specialists, indies and multiples including Asda and Ocado, is next month rolling out Super Sours, its first children’s product.

Available in two bag sizes - 50g (rsp: 79p) and 113g (rsp: £1.79) - Super Sours beans have been designed to offer an extra-sharp taste and will be available in a mix of nine flavours including sour apple, sour grape and sour cola. They contain no artificial colours or flavours, are suitable for coeliacs and vegetarians, and are kosher-certified and halal-compliant.

“Many sour sweets tend to offer only a sour taste and it is impossible to tell what the flavour is supposed to be,” said The Jelly Bean Factory joint MD Richard Cullen. “Ours have been difficult to develop as we have been very careful to achieve a balance of sourness and flavour.”

He added that The Jelly Bean Factory, which was founded by Cullen and his father in 1998 as a marketing business, had enjoyed strong growth after switching its focus exclusively to the jelly bean market in 2002. Current retail sales of the Dublin-based business - which operates from a 90,000 sq ft manufacturing site - are about £30m and split 50:50 between UK sales and exports.

Last year the company launched a range of Belgian chocolate-covered jelly beans for the gift market, and is expanding this in May with a 70g ‘everyday’ pouch format (rsp: £1.79).