Birds Eye has taken a leaf out of a well-known tea brand's book by launching a microwaveable frozen rice that's cooked in a pyramid shaped bag.

Rolling out this month, the Rice Fusions range of rice and vegetable dishes cooks in three minutes in the Pyramid Steamer to produce what Birds Eye claims is the first frozen ­microwaveable rice that's restaurant-quality.

The extra room in the bag improved the circulation of flavours during cooking and created a "perfectly fluffy, restaurant-quality texture", said Birds Eye, adding that it hoped to use the pyramid technology in future NPD.

It predicted £18m full-year sales for the four-strong ­Rice Fusions line-up, which contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and carries a £1.79 rsp for a pack of two 200g single-serve portions.

Birds Eye said the range, which comes in Mediterranean Vegetable, Egg-fried Rice with Peas, Pilau with Peas & Spinach and Country Mushroom flavours, would "raise the bar" and overcome negative consumer perception of frozen rice.

The product would offer a useful alternative to ambient pouches and trays, which tended to serve two or more people, and would appeal to single as well as multi-person households, predicted experts.

The launch will be supported by a £3.5m media spend, including a new Polar Bear TV ad and ­outdoor advertising.

"We are so confident in the taste of Rice Fusions that it will be supported by our biggest sampling campaign ever," said Birds Eye brand manager Matthew Blackmore.