Simon Mowbray
Schoolboy wizard Harry Potter will spearhead Masterfoods' spring and Easter push next year.
The confectionery giant is stepping up its offering based on author JK Rowling's creation to roll out a range of new products including a filled egg to rival Cadbury's Creme Egg.
Dragon Eggs should start hitting shelves early next year with the milk chocolate, foil-wrapped and fruit fondant filled offering retailing at 35p each.
There will be four versions of the eggs ­ Swedish Short Snout, Hungarian Horntail, Chinese Fireball and Welsh Green ­ all inspired by Rowling's fantasy world.
Paul Duckworth, Masterfoods' seasonal marketing manager, insisted the eggs would offer incremental value to the market and would not be doing direct battle with Creme Egg.
However, one wholesaler told The Grocer: "The market in filled eggs gets more fierce every year, so to claim that every new addition is incremental is nonsense. This is becoming a tough category."
Duckworth said there would be marketing support for Dragon Eggs, but declined to reveal the likely size of any spend and ruled out TV commercials.
Meanwhile, Masterfoods' Potter offering will also step up a gear at Easter with four new shell eggs set to hit stores. Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans Small Egg will retail at £1.49, while a collection of three eggs to collect ­ based on Diagon Alley from the Potter adventures ­ will cost £3.99 each.