Rolling out this week, Lighter Cathedral City, which is 25% fat - 30% lower than the standard product - has taken two years to develop.
Its arrival reflects the company's three-pronged NPD strategy. "There are three key drivers in the dairy market," said marketing director Richard Tolley. "Dairy for now, for pleasure and for health. The ideal is to marry up more than one of these."
As The Grocer's Weigh It Up campaign has shown, cheese is one of the biggest casualties of the FSA's Nutrient Profiling Model. Its calcium and protein content can't balance out its relatively high fat because it doesn't contain fruit, vegetables or nuts therefore, it can't be advertised to children.
Even with reduced fat, Cathedral City Lighter will still fall short but Dairy Crest expects its healthier postitioning to appeal to families. Skimmed and semi-skimmed options account for 72% of milk and 52% of the spreads market is reduced fat. However, only 14% of total cheese and only a paltry 4% of Cheddar are.
"The proportion of consumers believing that taste is the trade-off for health in reduced fat Cheddar is quite big," said Tolley. "We have made sure that despite the significant reduction of fat - particularly saturated fat - the taste profile is still Cathedral City."
He predicted sales in excess of £10m in Lighter's first year. "It has been one of the easiest sell-ins I've ever had," he added. "It's completely on-message."
Available in 400g blocks for the multiples, with a 200g option for c-stores, the newcomer will retail at a slight premium over the standard product. "Rsp for 400g is £3.29 compared to £3.09," said Tolley. "But it is more expensive to make."
It will share in an £8m marketing investment for the brand this year, including TV ads with dedicated bumpers, sampling and couponing activity.