Burton’s Biscuit Co has expanded its booming Maryland brand with a new cookies range featuring a gooey centre.

Maryland Gooeys are described as crunchy choc chip cookies with a gooey chocolate centre and, according to Burton’s, will offer “a new experience in the biscuits category”.

Available in chocolate, hazelnut and triple choc variants from Asda now, they will roll out to other retailers over the next three months. Gooeys are available in 160g packs with an rsp of £1.79, but have a promotional launch price of £1 and will also be sold in £1.29 price-marked packs.

Burton’s, which produces brands including Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels, and Cadbury Fingers and biscuits under licence, said the NPD was a first for the UK and had received a strong positive response in consumer testing.

It is expecting Gooeys to drive incremental growth in the indulgent biscuit category and the Maryland brand, which has seen sales rise 15% to £41m [The Grocer 2012 Top Products Survey]. It will support the launch with activity including advertising, promotions and sampling.

Dome-shaped filled cookies had been around for some time in Europe and Japan, said Paul Beresford, MD of Cambridge Market Research. “It is a genuine innovation that could hit the mark if the eating qualities match expectations,” he added.

Mintel senior food analyst Alex Beckett said the launch was “a nice riposte to recent biscuity confectionery launches such as Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo and Aero Biscuit bars.”

Just under two years ago, United Biscuits launched the McVitie’s Quirks range of crunchy biscuits with a smooth chocolatey centre, predicting it would hit £30m within three years. Sales of the brand doubled last year to £3.8m [Nielsen 52 w/e 13 October 2012].