A newly merged meat company is poised to bombard the UK retail market with a range of Scandinavian foods aimed at barbecue fans and partygoers.
HK Scan, formed from an amalgamation of Scan Foods of Sweden and HK Ruokatalo of Finland, is now one of Northern Europe's largest food groups operating across eight countries with a combined turnover of £1.4bn.
The business already has a foothold in Britain through its arm Scan Foods UK, which supplies meatballs to Asda, Sainsbury's, Spar, Somerfield, Costco and Makro.
"From a UK perspective, the merger provides us with the additional backing to introduce innovations along with significant support," said commercial manager Rebecca Wilson.
Scan UK plans to launch three new products outside its staple meatball line in May. They include country pork ribs, beechwood smoked hams with juniper and Swedish hotdogs. They are being backed by a campaign that centres on a cartoon meatball and a competition to nominate a hero in the community, called 'Have you got the balls?'
"These products are aimed at the snacking and party market along a finger foods theme," said Wilson. "They are for both retailers and the foodservice sector."
Another range of frozen meatballs has been put on hold while Scan drums up interest. Chinese, tandoori, pork and beef meatballs may be launched in the UK later this year.
With a nod to the recent publicity over supposedly cruel pig production methods, Scan is emphasising the high welfare standards behind Swedish pork.
"There is no tethering of sows and no slatted floors," said Scan business consultant Ray Stannard.
"All the animals are healthy, so there is no salmonella or growth promoters, making the meat really succulent."