Danone is muscling further into Müller territory with the launch of dessert-inspired variants for Activia.

The company has added an apple and berry crumble as well as a banoffee limited-edition flavour to its range of 0% fat Activia snackpots.

Danone has sold indulgent flavours under the Activia brand before - it has a smooth caramel variant in its Intensely Creamy range. But the new snackpots mark the first time it has offered specific dessert flavours, which will now go head to head with similar variants in Müller’s Inspired By range of low-fat Müllerlight yoghurts.

The new flavours went into Sainsbury’s and Ocado last week and are expected to win listings in Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose shortly. They would bring “excitement” to its range, said Danone. “They really fit with the diet shopper’s needs,” a spokeswoman added.

Their launch is the second piece of NPD from Danone to follow Müller’s lead. Last September, it launched Activia Greek Style in the wake of Müller’s expansion into Greek-style yoghurt with Corner in May 2010.

But it is Müller that has been struggling of late. Danone’s Activia offensive comes at a difficult time for its rival, which recently suffered a string of senior management departures, failures of new product development, and had to embark on a high-profile revamp of its marketing and advertising strategy.

Sales have also suffered, with Müller Corner and Müllerlight down 2.3% to £215.1m and 0.1% to £125.9m respectively, while sales of Activia increased by 1.5% year-on-year to £241.6m [Britain’s Biggest Grocery Brands/Nielsen MAT 24 December 2012].

Danone would not be drawn on why it had chosen to launch the two products, but said it continually evolved to meet the “dynamic needs” of its consumers.