Country Life will become the first major brand to enter the organic milk category when it launches into Tesco next month.

The butter brand is making its milk debut to take advantage of what brand owner Dairy Crest describes as the fastest category within organic dairy.

It said that organic milk had grown in value by 50% over the past year and had overtaken yoghurt as the largest sector of the £255m UK organic dairy market.

According to marketing director Paul Fraser, brands hold a 16% share in organic milk, but the entrance of Country Life would help increase this.

"There is clearly an opportunity to grow this side of the market," he said.

The milk, which is sourced exclusively from the West Country, will initially be sold in Tesco in one-litre cartons and two-litre plastic bottles, with an rsp of 89p and £1.49 respectively. It will also be available through Dairy Crest's doorstop delivery service.

Fraser said the company had chosen to launch the milk under the butter brand, rather than its St Ivel or Dairy Crest milk brands, because it had a strong link with British farming.

"It is a natural step for us to launch Country Life milk. Country Life is a strong dairy brand; it has 90% awareness and strong associations with the British countryside, so it will naturally attract new consumers to the category," he said. "It will hopefully accelerate organic sales and build the market rather than cannibalise own label sales."

He added that the brand would not be affected by tight supplies of organic milk that are affecting some producers in the market. "We are very confident that we will have enough supply of organic milk."

The newcomer will benefit from a £6m marketing investment for the Country Life brand for 2006 in addition to specific in-store support.