Premier Foods is trialling a range of smoothies and fruit bars for children under its Hartley’s label in a drive to create a £50m brand within the next three years.
The products are being sold in multiples in Birmingham, Nottingham, Stoke and Oxford, and being supported by TV ads.
If sales go well, the products are likely to be available nationwide at the start of next year, the company said.
Two ambient smoothies have been developed - Apple & Strawberry and Five Fruit Feast - in screwcap pouches that will go head-to-head with similar products such as Kellogg’s Screaming Fruit Squidgers and Fruitini Squeezie. Containing 93% fruit, they are a mix
between a drink and fruit purée and provide one portion of fruit per 90g serving (rsp: 49p and £1.49 for a four-pack). The fruit snack bars contain 90% fruit and come in three variants - Apple & Strawberry, Blackcurrant & Apple and Mango & Passion Fruit (rsp: 39p for a 25g bar and £1.85 for a five-pack).
Dominic Box, commercial director at Premier Foods, said the launch was part of the company’s aspirations to grow key brands such as Hartley’s, Loyd Grossman and Ambrosia through extensions and consolidations of smaller labels.
Hartley’s has grown from a £8m to a £35m brand in the last five years through the launch of Best, a premium jam range, and the migration of its Rowntrees jellies under the label.
“There are two basic mega trends in the marketplace - snacking and informal eating, and greater consumer awareness of healthy eating. We know mums and children recognise that fruit can play a role in the lunchbox,” said Box.
The products are backed by a £1m campaign with a 40-second and two 10-second TV ads this month in the Central TV region.
Douwe Egberts is launching its first TV campaign on Monday (July 25) with a look at two women striving to outdo each other in their aspirations during a poker game. The stakes include a holiday in the Caribbean, breast enhancements and Douwe Egberts coffee. It will run across digital and terrestrial channels until the end of August.
Stefan Chomka