Birds Eye is launching its premium Simply brand into the burger category to tap into the popularity of upmarket burger bars, as well as a new burger aimed at lads.

The Simply burgers range is lightly seasoned, with a thicker, more crumbly texture, to deliver a quality similar to premium restaurant burgers, said Birds Eye.

The launch of the burgers - which will be available available in two variants, Aberdeen Angus and lamb & mint, from the end of March - has been timed to coincide with the start of the barbecue season.

It follows the launch of Simply Fish in 1999 and Simply Chicken in 2006, which are now worth £55m, up 36% on last year.

"We hope Simply Burgers will leverage the success of the wider Simply platform and tap into the growth of premium gourmet-style burger outlets," said Matt Richards, Birds Eye red meat brand manager.

The frozen range will benefit from a £20m overall spend on the Birds Eye brand in 2008.

The company is also launching the Big Bite Burger in March. The larger-sized burger brand is targeted at the "lads' barbecue occasion". Marketing will be focused around key sporting events and men's magazines. "The Big Bite Burger will target males who love a big eat, bringing the out-of-home 'sports burger' experience into the home," said Richards. He added that Birds Eye's NPD was focused on "distinctively targeted" offerings.