Allied Bakeries is aiming to grab a slice of the lucrative crustless loaf sector created by rival Hovis last August, with a new Kingsmill product.

It is also moving the brand into chilled with a Heat and Share ciabatta and flatbread range, as part of an overhaul for its major bread brands planned for the next 12 months.

Kingsmill Crustless, which is on trial in Iceland stores (rsp. £1.10), with a roll-out elsewhere planned for next month, is made in an overlarge tin, with its crusts mechanically cut off to leave normal sized slices. The company claims it is the UK's first totally crustless bread.

Hovis Invisible Crust, which achieved sales of £6.3m in its first six months, is baked using microwave technology from the inside out, creating a loaf that is soft up to the edges and is aimed at reducing wastage. Owner RHM launched the Hovis product after its research revealed that a significant proportion of consumers, including two out of three children, do not eat crusts and leave up to 45% of a loaf, losing out on nutrition and wasting money.

One supermarket insider said that although the two products had a similar propo­sition, they looked different. "It is clear that the Kingsmill loaf has its crusts cut off, whereas Hovis Invisible Crust still has an 'outside'. It will be interesting to see which consumers go for and also interesting to see what Allied Bakeries do with the crusts they remove. There would be enough left for bread and butter pudding."

Rolling out now, Heat and Share, which is a joint initiative with Speedibake - a sister company in the Associated British Foods Group, consists of salsa and smokey BBQ ciabatta, cheese-topped doughballs and roasted garlic flatbread.

Allied Bakeries said the premium bread sector was showing 10% growth year-on-year, with the £7.3m UK ciabatta market up 22% and the £14.7m flatbread/tear & share sector growing at 44%.

The full range will be available in mid-June in Morrisons, with plans to extend listings to the other major supermarkets.