Germany's largest organic dairy company is gearing up to take on Britain's flavoured milk and smoothie makers with the launch of its bestselling 'lassi' drink into UK supermarkets.

Andechser Lassi (rsp: £1.49/250ml) is made with organic yoghurt and comes in three 'Indian-inspired' variants mango, raspberry and chai.

The product has racked up sales of 4.5 million units in the past 12 months in its German home market.

It was launched by Andechser Molkerei in 2008, and is listed by Auchan in France and Carrefour in Spain. In the UK, it was recently trialled in Whole Foods Market and the company is now seeking listings in the multiples for early 2011.

The launch of Andechser Lassi in the UK comes as the market for flavoured milk is flourishing. Earlier this year, sales of flavoured milk overtook those of smoothies following 6.5% year-on-year growth to £159.4m [Nielsen 52 w/e 7 August 2010], and the category has seen a flurry of launches.

Lassi still accounts for a small part of the milk market but is becoming increasingly familiar to UK consumers.

However, most products launched to date have come from niche players such as the Yorkshire start-up Schmoo, rather than dairy players of the size of Andechser, which has a turnover of £100m a year.

The company's organic credentials also provide an opportunity to differentiate the brand from other flavoured milk and drinking yoghurt brands.

"With no artificial additives and 100% organic ingredients, the brand ticks all the right boxes in being the kind of natural and wholesome product modern consumers are looking for," said Jeff Bayley, MD of Andechser lassi distributor Single Marketing.

The company is positioning the lassi as a 'yoghurt smoothie' to convey the fact the drink is dairy-based but also high in fruit content. The launch is Andechser's first foray into the UK but Bayley said the company might decide to introduce other organic products from its portfolio here.