After a move into cooked ham in early 2012, Kerry Foods is taking its market-leading Richmond sausage brand into yet another meat category with the launch of meatballs aimed at kids.

Some may question the timing, given meatballs are among the products caught up in the horsemeat scandal, but Kerry is going ahead, launching Richmond Mini Meatballs, pre-cooked meatballs made from pork sausagemeat.

They come in chilled (rsp: £2 for 200g) and frozen (rsp: £2.50 for 400g) formats. The frozen variant will go on sale from 3 March, while the chilled will launch in April.

Kerry has secured listings with all of the big four, where the meatballs will be sited in the branded sausage and meatballs fixtures.

The launch will be supported by a £2m campaign, including a new TV ad. Kerry also plans to push Mini Meatballs through in-store sampling and posters.

The meatball category was worth £62.3m and growing at 7.7% year-on-year [Nielsen 52 w/e 2 February 2013], but household penetration stood at just 24% [Kantar 52 w/e 28 October 2012] which meant there was “still significant headroom for growth,” said Kerry.

The launch would attract loyal Richmond shoppers to meatballs, added marketing manager Dawn Simon, and would support “the category growth ambitions of our retail partners in this emerging segment”.

Unlike the sausageballs launched under fellow Kerry brand Wall’s last year, Richmond Mini Meatballs were aimed specifically at mums of two to nine-year-old children and were pre-cooked, she said.

This week, Ikea halted sales of meatballs across most EU countries after a batch tested positive for horsemeat in the Czech Republic. None of Kerry’s beef products have tested positive for either pork or horse DNA.