Mars is branching out into premium and healthier products with its first major launches intended to stamp a mark on more profitable categories.

The Mars-owned Seeds of Change brand, better known for its organic sauces, aims to tap into the growing trend for premium chocolate with its confectionery debut in November. Its organic block chocolate will have an rsp of £1.99 and be available in dark chocolate, orange and fig, apricot and cashews, and hazelnut and walnut varieties.

Mars is also launching Cocavia, which contains cocoa flavanol. The premium brand, which is expected to go into stores next year, also taps into the health and wellness category, as cocoa flavanol has been found to help maintain a healthy heart and blood flow, according to research by the Harvard Medical School.

The product is already available in the US and is currently being trialled in Europe. It will be available in three varieties: dark chocolate, blueberry and almond, and cranberry and orange, but pricing is yet to be decided. The launch is expected to initially focus on specialist stores, such as pharmacies and health food shops.

"Mars is known for its everyday chocolate and we have kept true to that," managing director Fiona Dawson said. "But there are areas of the market that are growing, such as dark chocolate and premiumisation, and we are responding to that demand."

No marketing activity is planned for either brand, but Mars will re-assess demand next year.

The company is also expanding its range of products with other added health benefits.

These include the reformulation of Tracker bars to include wholegrains, which go on shelf from this month. It follows the launch last year of Frutasia cereal bars, the only cereal bars on the market to contain one

5-a-day portion of fruit.

n Mars has denied reports this week that it was to revive its famous "Work, rest and play" slogan across its portfolio. This was despite re-introducing it in April as "Work. Rest. Play longer" to support its Mars Refuel drink.