R&R Ice Cream is hoping to bring new consumers to the freezer aisle with the launch of the first lactose-free dairy ice cream for the UK market.

The company has struck a licensing agreement with Arla Foods to extend its £16.8m Lactofree brand into ice cream for the first time, targeting the 15% of the UK population believed to be lactose-intolerant.

Made with British milk and available in vanilla flavour (rsp: £3.49/for a one-litre tub), Lactofree ice cream will roll out to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Waitrose from 5 March.

“A key part of our NPD strategy for 2012 is focused on building on recognisable consumer brands and meeting consumers’ evolving needs by introducing new innovation to the category that will drive incremental sales,” said R&R Ice Cream senior marketing manager Charlotte Hambling. “The Lactofree ice cream was developed to meet and satisfy strong demand from the brand’s loyalists and we’re confident it will drive new consumers to the ice cream fixture.”

Lactofree brand manager Louise Allen said the launch would resonate with customers. “We have an incredibly loyal customer base that value quality, lactose-free products without compromising on taste, texture and flavour,” she added. Value sales of the brand have risen 38% over the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 24 December 2011].

The launch will be supported by a £2m marketing campaign, including a Lactofree TV ad airing in March and September, digital and social media activity and in-store promotion.