Nom UK has unveiled ambitious plans to take on Müller and become a major branded and own-label yoghurt producer.

The new UK arm of the Austrian dairy giant launched Nom Naturally Light into Asda last week. The four-strong yoghurt range will go head-to-head with Müllerlight and follows the launch in May of a split-pot Naturally Creamy rival to Müller Corner.

"We have plans to grow as big as Müller, if not bigger," said Nom MD David Potts as he revealed Nom was to ramp up UK yoghurt production at its new £60m factory in Shropshire.

The company, which is currently only utilising 40% of its 24-acre site, would increase production to 100% of capacity within five years, he said, giving it the manufacturing clout to rival its German-owned competitor.

Taking a leaf out of its rival's book, Nom has begun marketing its products as produced in Shropshire, a strategy seen as increasingly important for manufacturers in a category where many products are imported to the UK.

However, unlike its rival, Naturally Light contained no artificial ingredients, he claimed. "As consumers become more and more aware of the benefits of a healthy diet, they are looking not only for low-fat options, but also products that contain natural ingredients so they know exactly what they are eating," he added.

While Müller was currently a far bigger producer, Nom's burgeoning own-label and branded portfolio gave it ample room for growth, he said.

"We're happy to produce own label as it helps build relationships with retailers very quickly," he added.

However, Müller has cast doubt over Nom's ability to take on its brands.

"Müllerlight sells more than 350 million pots a year and has an annual retail sales value of £137.6m," said marketing and R&D director Chris McDonough.

"It's continuing to show strong growth, so Nom's target is a pretty big one to aim for, particularly for a manufacturer moving into the branded market for the first time."