The new brand, named Something XTRA, will be available exclusively at Tesco stores throughout the UK for an initial period of three months, before becoming available to all other retailers.
"We have worked closely with senior product development specialists to create recipes with real benefits and great taste. This will take time to convey the proposition so it is about timing and consistency of message to an audience that understands what you are trying to offer and then enhance it through more options. To communicate this, we will be promoting product in-store and through a national sampling and media support campaign, said a spokesperson from Multiple Marketing.
Once we are convinced the brand values and the message have been accepted by the targeted audience through a carefully prepared programme of product support, further cereal bar varieties will be launched to the market."
The Something XTRA range includes five cereal bars, all of which contain folic acid, calcium and iron. Additional ingredients allow the products to claim different health benefits. A green tea and apple bar contains green tea extract, and is marketed as supporting the body's natural defences.
A mango and apricot bar contains caffeine and taurine to keep a consumer alert and active, while a high fibre, low GI cranberry and chocolate recipe contains inulin and claims to help support the body's natural functions.
A high fibre mixed berry bar is made with L Carnitine and omega-3, and is marketed as giving your body a boost when you need it. The banana and chocolate cereal bar contains inulin, and is said to provide extra energy.
According to Tesco Healthcares Jennifer West, "nationally, the demand for a wider range of healthcare products, both food and non-food, is on the increase. Customers are telling us they want to take more responsibility for their own healthcare and buy products, particularly food products, that offer taste and nutrition but also have greater functional benefits as well."
"To meet this demand, we are forming partnerships with some of Europe's leading food manufacturers such as Multiple Marketing, to bring to market new, innovative products that ensure our customers get everything they need from the healthcare shelves at Tesco," she added.
The 32g Something XTRA bars will be available as both single bars, with a retail price of £0.69 (€1), and in three single bar multi-packs, priced at £1.99 (€2.90).Other brands developed by Multiple Marketing include Sunmagic, Fun Time, Curtis and Windmill.
According to a recent report from market researcher Mintel, overall sales of cereal bars in the UK have seen strong growth since 2000, with values in the market almost doubling by 2005 to reach £250m (€365m). The UK cereal bar market is forecast to grow by an estimated 49 per cent at current prices between 2005-10, to reach a value of £373m (€544).
Health has been a major driver in the cereal bar market, said the report, and functionality is becoming increasingly important. The inclusion of functional ingredients in cereal bars may offer further opportunities to add value, and with a strong need for differentiation in this market, this is one possibility, said Mintel.