Dairy products have for many years come in a wide variety of tastes, and manufacturers are continually looking for flavours which will help their products stand out from the crowd.
But one area which has been underexploited is the combination of alcohol and dairy products - until now.
The UK's number two spirit producer, Allied Domecq, has teamed up with the UK arm of Italian dairy group Parmalat to produce a range of branded desserts flavoured with a number of its popular alcohol brands.
The new chilled dessert range includes single serve Malibu tropical trifle, Tia Maria tiramisu and both single serve (125g) and family sized (600g) versions of Harveys Bristol Cream trifles. The desserts will be co-branded with Loseley, the UK dairy brand of Parmalat.
The UK chilled dairy market is worth £1.3 billion and is growing at 5 per cent year-on-year, according to Mintel data cited by Allied Domecq. Within this, chilled desserts are the fastest growing sector with 76 per cent household penetration, and in turn trifles and mousses are the largest sector within the chilled desserts segment, accounting for 22 per cent of the market each.
Recent growth has been driven by innovative new product development predominantly in chocolate products.
David Young, commercial director at Parmalat Foodholdings UK, said that while there was good growth in the chilled desserts market, much of the innovation thus far had come from supermarket own labels, leaving room for a strong branded player to carve a significant niche.
"Understanding that innovation and a genuine point of difference are both paramount to new product success, we joined forces with Allied Domecq to combine their expertise in food with alcohol with our skill in dessert manufacture. The result is a new dessert range that will reinvigorate the category and provide fresh impetus.
"The dual branding with high profile alcohol brands brings instant consumer recognition as well as justifying an adult, premium, indulgent positioning. We deliberately chose products within the range that would be suitable for all year round opportunities as well as seasonal peaks, and anticipate high levels of interest this autumn," he said.
Extensive research was undertaken by the two companies to determine those alcohol brands most suited to chilled dessert applications. Harveys Bristol Cream sherry, Malibu coconut flavoured rum and Tia Maria coffee liqueur were found not only to have an affinity to chilled desserts but also a wide consumer recognition. Both Malibu and Tia Maria benefit from high levels of consumer advertising and boast an impressive 99 per cent and 98 per cent global awareness respectively.
The Loseley liqueur desserts range will be launched in store with a customised promotional programme for the retailer aimed at developing closer relationships with individual customers. Promotional mechanics include multibuys, coupons, in-store tastings, in-store radio and activity with retailers' store magazines. The range will be on shelf in September, has an RRP of 99p for the single serve products (125g) and £3.99 for a family sized serving (600g) and a shelf life of 10 days.
Ali Kittermaster, consumer products director at Allied Domecq, said that the partnership with Parmalat was just one of many deals designed to extend awareness of the company's strong spirit brands to new sets of consumers.