Premier Foods is taking on Kraft brand Belvita with a new range of Hovis breakfast biscuits that it hopes will be worth £14m in three years.

The company is launching Hovis Breakfast Bakes this month and plans to use its breakfast credentials to grab a sizeable bite of the fast-growing breakfast biscuit segment, which has doubled over the past year to £35.3m [Symphony IRI 52 w/e 17 March 2012], driven by Belvita.

The new range, which comes in Oats & Honey, Malted Crunch and milk & Oats flavours (rsp: £2.19 for five packs of four biscuits), will be supported by a £4m push including TV, and money-off coupons on 28 million Hovis bread bags.

Free from artificial preservatives or flavourings and made with British wholegrain wheat, oats and wheatgerm, the biscuits would act as an entry point to the category and add £14m in sales in the next three years, predicted Premier.

Breakfast biscuits met a genuine consumer need, particularly among 25 to 44-year old women, many of whom skipped breakfast regularly, said marketing controller Sarah Frederickson.

However, consumers did not automatically associate biscuits with breakfast, she admitted, and as a result penetration was low at 16% [Kantar Worldpanel March 2012].

The company would look for other ways to leverage the Hovis brand beyond the bread category, she added. “We have plans to explore a number of opportunities in adjacent categories where Hovis can offer a sustainable differentiated position.”

Hovis’s use of ‘bakes’ rather than biscuits and their bread shape would help boost the credibility of the range, said Jossie Clayton, senior planning manager at brand consultancy The Gild - but she said she thought its packaging was “me too”.