Kettle is muscling in on Walkers territory with the launch of its first baked snacks.

Kettle Baked Crisps are pitched as a “lighter, crispier snack range” for health-conscious women, and contains fewer than 90 calories and less than 10% fat in a 20g serving.

They will initially come in two flavours - Sea Salted and Sea Salt & Crushed Black Pepper - and will launch exclusively into Waitrose on 26 March, priced at £1.69 for an 80g bag, before rolling out further this year.

The crisps are free from monosodium glutamate, artificial colours and flavours and had been devised to offer an alternative to other low-calorie snacks “without compromising on taste”, the company said.

“Female consumers would love the opportunity to have a Kettle Chip that was slightly lighter and lower in fat so we’re confident there is demand for this,” said marketing director Andrew Slamin.

Kettle has also rolled out price-marked 100g bags (rsp: £1.29) in four core flavours and 85g bags of its Ridge Crisps (rsp: 99p) specifically for independents and the convenience sector.

Larger bags of Ridge Crisps, which launched two years ago, are reducing in size from 150g (rsp: £1.75) to 120g to offer a lower price point of £1.39, and have been given a fresh look. The new bags have launched into Tesco in the past few weeks and are rolling out now to other retailers. Sales of Kettle Chips have risen 6.7% in the past year to £90m [Nielsen 52w/e 4 February 2012].

To celebrate its 30th birthday, Kettle is re-introducing a flavour from its past this autumn and is inviting consumers to vote for the winning variant on Facebook by the end of April.

Walkers is extending its Baked range this month with Baked Stars, which have 70% less fat on average than standard crisps. They launch on 19 March in Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, and Mild Sweet Chilli flavours (rsp: £1.59/six-pack) and will be supported by TV advertising from next month, as well as PR, in-store support and sampling.