Taking on the likes of Innocent and PJs, King Parrot Foods has put smoothies in the freezer aisle.

The new company has come up with an original concept - a single pouch ?of individually quick-frozen (IQF) fruit, low-fat yoghurt and fruit juice, which is ready for the blender after 80 seconds defrosting in a microwave.

Liverpool-based King Parrot claims its smoothies are healthier than rival products because they use fruit that is frozen immediately after picking, sealing in the full vitamin and mineral content.

They are also cheaper at an rsp of £1.49, partly because, as consumers need to do some of the preparation at home, they are exempt from the 17.5% VAT that is the bane of the ready-to-drink market.

Four flavours are available for the retail market at the moment - Strawberry Fields, Raspberry Ripple, Mango Mania and Blueberry Hill. They are already on-shelf in 100 Morrisons and 300 Farmfoods stores, while Asda is in discussion on further listings.

The company also ?has a foodservice range, which comprises the smoothies and freshly-squeezed juices with or without guarana, ginseng or echinacea 'herbal boosters'.

MD Noel Davis developed the smoothie kits after extensive experience across the food industry, including 12 years with Northern Foods and a spell with Anglo Beef Processors. "I was looking to develop frozen products that played to the category's inherent strengths," he said.

"I wanted something that had to be frozen or served very cold, that would benefit from no preservatives and that was convenient. There are own-label frozen smoothie packs around, but they are just IQF fruit that require the addition of yoghurt or juice."

Because the freezer is an unusual site for smoothies, King Parrot Foods is backing the new concept with a £1.5m marketing campaign, which will include samplings run via national newspapers and outdoor events, including music festivals.