In a nod to Rowntree’s Randoms, United Biscuits has launched Oddities, a new range of snackable savoury biscuits.

The new bite-sized baked biscuits, which will be available from March, come in an assorted mix of seven “unexpected shapes” and two flavours: cheese and smoky bacon. Available in multipacks of five 25g packs (rsp: £1.75), 125g sharing packs (rsp:£1.42) and 30g on-thego packs (59p), the biscuits contain no artificial colours or flavours.

The light and crispy snacks would attract new, younger consumers as well as families with a “fun and engaging” snackable crack-er, claimed UB, which is hoping to accelerate category growth.

Value sales of the savoury biscuits market have risen 7.5% in value to £374m over the past year but volume remained broadly flat down 0.3% [Nielsen 52w/e 5 November 2011].

While Oddities had the “quirky nature” of Randoms, they had not inspired the launch, insisted UBUK marketing director Jon Eggleton. The biscuits could help the savoury segment grow its share of total biscuits from 17% to nearer 20%, he predicted.

“There’s almost no other snack out there that kids can really enjoy and mum feels OK about giving to them,” he said. “For a snack on the go, they would tend to go for bagged crisps and salty snacks but there is a big opportunity to expand savoury biscuits into that occasion. Oddities are fun, tasty and have half the fat of standard crisps. They’re a unique proposition.”

UB expects to confirm listings in the next few months. The launch will receive more than £2m in support, including TV, poster, online and radio.