McCain Foods is continuing its push into the premium frozen sector with the launch of a new indulgent potato brand this autumn.

The Simply Gorgeous range is aimed at special occasions and is priced at £2.29 for a 550g bag, compared with £1.93 for a 1.5kg bag of McCain Straight Cut Home Fries.

The two-product range comprises chunky chips cooked in beef dripping and roast potatoes in goose fat.

“Brits love their chips and we wanted to create a really special chip for those occasions when you simply want to treat yourself,” said marketing director Simon Eyles. “Simply Gorgeous offers a new taste experience for those looking for quality and flavour in the frozen aisle.”

McCain is investing £3m in marketing to promote the launch, including a press and online campaign, and the products are due to hit shelves in September.

It rejected suggestions the launch marked a shift away from its Potato Gourmet range, which it launched in January 2007. “Potato Gourmet is about potatoes with other ingredients, whereas this new brand is all about straight potato products. It is restaurant-quality food for home and there’s nothing else like it on the market,” said Eyles.

New products for the Gourmet brand are currently in the pipeline and scheduled for release this October, he confirmed.

This autumn will also see the roll-out of McCain Sweet Potato with Rosemary and Garlic, which marks the company’s first foray into frozen vegetables. The product was launched into Sainsbury’s in February and will now roll out to all major retailers, priced at £1.99 for 400g.

“We want to bring creative solutions to frozen vegetables and inspire consumers by presenting different and interesting vegetables and making them easy to cook,” said Eyles.

McCain increased its marketing budget from £1m to £16m this year as the frozen food sector experienced growth for the first time in years, fuelled by concerns over food waste. Sales were up 4.2% to £4.7bn last year [TNS w/e 24 February 2008].