Masterfoods plans to shake up the cereal bar market by introducing a product designed to offer health benefits and indulgence.

The confectionery giant claims Frutasia, which comes in strawberry or apricot, will be the only cereal bar to contain one portion of fruit.

The bars, which come in packs of four, combine fruit and crispy cereal on a creamy yoghurt base. Packs are priced at £2.29 and will go on shelf from 23 April.

"The launch of Frutasia is about adding value to an already strong performing category as we know value sales growth in cereal bars is being driven by NPD - without which the category would be in decline," said trade relations manager Andrea Taylor.

"There are three key trends behind the launch: indulgence, convenience and better-for-you. We address these but without compromising on taste."

Kellogg's currently dominates the cereal bar sector with the top two brands Nutri-Grain and Special K, but Masterfoods has a strong presence with its Tracker and Seeds of Change, an organic line.

Frutasia sits within the better-for-you sector of the cereal bar market, according to Masterfoods, as it is a good source of vitamin C, is rich in fibre and contains no artificial colours.

This sector has driven the overall market, which grew 23% last year to £256m [TNS year to December 2006]. The new product is also positioned as a premium offering, which Taylor said was another growth sector of the cereal bar market.

The launch is being supported by a £1.1m campaign from May until the end of 2007, which will include in store trials and online sampling. Taylor said sampling was particularly important in the cereal bar category.

"They aren't as loyal as traditional confectionery consumers," she said. "We have purposefully invested in a comprehensive sampling drive through the year as we know trial is the key motivator within this category."

The brand will also be the official sponsor of the volunteers at this year's Race for Life by Cancer Research.