Premier Foods has revealed that Sharwood's will be the first from its recently acquired stable of RHM brands to undergo major brand activity.
The £85m brand, which already has a strong foothold in Asian cuisine with its Indian and Chinese ranges, is making big moves into Thai food with a 'complete meal' range.
Thai cooking sauces already sit under the Sharwood's umbrella, but the company felt the time was right to offer consumers a full selection of Thai offerings under a banner that distinguishes Thai from its existing ranges. It also plans to revamp its Chinese and Indian ranges later this year to ensure they offer three separate on-shelf identities for its cuisines.
"There has already been a significant growth in interest in Thai food in the UK," said senior innovations manager Tom Andrews. "The number of Thai restaurants in the UK has quadrupled since 2000 and consumers feel Thai food is a lighter option than Indian curries or Chinese food.
"No-one has really gone into Thai in a big way. We think that by 2010 the growth in Thai could outstrip the combined growth of Chinese and Indian, if it has a big brand behind it."
The Sharwood's Thai range comprises: Thai spiced crackers, Thai chilli dipping sauce, ready-to-wok 'Pad Thai' noodles and vermicelli rice noodles. Sauces of red, green, yellow and mussaman curry also fit into the range, along with stir-fry sauces in flavours of Thai sweet chili & lemongrass; kaffir lime & coriander and oyster & Thai basil.
The company has already secured listings for the range with Sainsbury's and Waitrose from July. The launch will be backed with £3m support including TV.