Tilda is aiming to push microwaveable rice upmarket with a basmati brand that proclaims itself as steamed rather than microwaved.

The Tilda Steamed Basmati range is targeted at consumers who seek convenience foods, but also want natural, healthy products.

The company is backing it with a £3.1m campaign, including TV advertising, which will highlight the steaming concept and its benefits.

"Many target consumers have a poor perception of microwave food," said head of marketing Stephen von Speyr. "You can steam food in a microwave and there are positive associations with steaming, but not such good ones with microwaving. We feel there is a huge opportunity here."

Rolling out now, the premium products, priced at £1.49 a pack, use natural ingredients that are part-steamed so consumers can complete the cooking process in two minutes.

Fifteen recipes have been inspired by trends in global cuisines, according to Tilda. Familar egg fried rice and pilau sit alongside more exotic options - coconut, chilli & lemongrass; split pea, clove & cinnamon; chickpea, yoghurt & mint and red pepper & turtle bean. The range will also include a brown basmati.

The Rizazz name, which was Tilda's first foray into this category, features discreetly on the back of the pack to encourage Rizazz users to move to the new brand. Packaging is made of matt film rather than plastic.

"This pack reflects the brand's heritage, purity and commitment to trading fairly," said a spokesman. "These are values that appeal strongly to quality-conscious consumers."

Tilda estimates the microwaveable rice category will be worth £165m by 2010, from its current market value of £92m [Nielsen].