Eat Natural has thrown its nut and fruit bar expertise into the kids' arena with the launch of a range of snack bars 'stuffed with fruit'.

Eat Natural Lunchies, which is now being rolled into Waitrose, is available in two recipes: blackcurrants, apples & apricots and strawberries, mangoes & yoghurt.

Both are made with more than 65% fruit and will provide one of the recommended 5-a-day portions of fruit or veg, the company said. A box of five 30g bars is priced at £2.25.

In line with the rest of the company's portfolio, all bars are handmade and free from 'nasties'.

"We know how difficult it can be for parents trying to do the right thing for their kids," said co-founder and director Praveen Vijh. "Getting enough wholesome goodness into their diets while still finding foods they will not only eat, but enjoy eating day in, day out, is not an easy task. Lunchies offer parents a very real, natural and tasty alternative, something their kids will love."

Vijh said he was confident the newcomer would attract "many new consumers" to the £262m cereal bar category, which generated strong growth last year, up 10.5%, according to TNS [52 w/e 3 December 06].

Eat Natural, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year, is supporting the launch with in-store promotions and sampling during the school holidays and back-to-school period.

The activity forms part of a £1m marketing budget for the total brand this year - the company's biggest marketing spend to date.

The introduction of Lunchies is the second wave of activity from Eat Natural in recent months and forms part of its strategy to increase annual sales by 30%. In May, the brand introduced enhanced recipes and carried out a packaging overhaul. Further product innovation is planned for later this summer and autumn.