Premier Foods is hoping to help itself to an additional £35m serving of the ambient desserts market with a £20m investment in its Ambrosia and Hartley's brands.

The manufacturer already has a 51% share of the £296m ambient desserts fixture, and its brands such as Ambrosia, Hartley's, Bird's and Angel Delight recorded a 7.1% sales growth over the past year [IRI].

However, it said, there was an opportunity to rake in £35m of additional sales over the next three years by targeting the lunchbox market more effectively, stealing share from chilled and "creating heroes" out of its core ambient desserts Ambrosia and Hartley's.

Premier has dedicated £20m to the two brands, to pay for investments in NPD, marketing and infrastructure improvements over the next three years.

The first phase of the programme would be Ambrosia's new Crumble Puds, which contain Ambrosia custard and fruit compote with crumble on the side, and Jelly Puds, which contain jelly and custard (rsp: both 69p).

The desserts would meet demand for a "convenient complete my meal" offering that can be eaten hot or cold, said head of marketing for desserts and homebaking, Dan Ince.

The puddings, rolling out this month, will be supported by a marketing campaign that includes TV advertising with the strapline 'Ambrosia Feel Good Puds'.

Meanwhile, new Hartley's Frujies (rsp: £1.99 for a four-pack) will target kids' lunchbox and healthier snacking occasions. The range comes in mandarins in orange jelly and peaches in strawberry jelly. It will be joined by the new Hartley's Fruit in Jelly pot range (rsp: 69p), designed to be a fat-free treat for adults.

Hartley's will also benefit from new brand messaging with a 'Happy go Hartley's' slogan intended to conjure up the "happy innocence of childhood".

"Our vision is to switch consumer perception of ambient desserts from a dusty store cupboard staple to a genuine real good pud," said Ince.