Müller, the dominant player in the adult yoghurt market, has created a new range to challenge Yoplait Dairy Crest's Petits Filous brand for a bigger share of the children's sector.

Launching next month, the sub-brand - called Little Stars - will include fromage frais, high juice jelly, a yoghurt drink and a smooth yoghurt, designed to target different usage occasions and ages.

A £4.5m marketing investment, including TV, poster and press advertising, as well as sampling, will back it in the autumn.

According to Müller, the product recipes contain real fruit, a good source of cal­cium and six other natural ingredients, on average, to give parents reassurance about what they are feeding their children.

Marketing and R&D director Chris McDonough said: "With ongoing debates over children's health and nutrition, it is vital to offer parents a simple and convenient way of ensuring children eat healthily. Our new Müller Little Stars range has all the right credentials for parents wanting to give their children enjoyable all-natural goodness."

Packs have been designed to appeal to both adults and children, with a checklist on the outside flagging up that the products contain no artificial ingredients, as well as providing puzzles and activities on the inside.

Müller owns the two leading yoghurt brands in the UK - Corner and Müllerlight - although both only experienced a marginal rise in sales last year [ACNielsen 52 w/e 1 October 2005]. By comparison, third place brand Petits Filous rose 17.9% in sales during the same period.

McDonough said the company was looking to boost its presence in the growing children's category: "It demonstrates Müller's commitment to driving cate­gory growth through fulfilling consumer needs."

The smooth yoghurt will be available in strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant variants in 6 x 85g pots and the jellies in strawberry, blackcurrant and orange in 6 x 75g pots, both with an rsp of £1.38. The fromage frais comes in 60g pots of peach, strawberry and raspberry flavours in packs of six or 18, priced at £1.38 and £2.76 respectively.

A Red Berries yoghurt drink in 6 x 90g bottles (rsp: £1.85) completes the range.