Masterfoods is understood to be launching its first new sugar confectionery brand for three years. Chewsers will be launched in the spring.
The product, which is a range of liquid-filled fruit chews, is thought to be one of two major launches for the confectionery company this year. It is also launching a new chocolate product called Mars Planets.
Insiders say that it is hoped that innovation such as liquid-filled products can boost sales of sugar products. An industry insider says the product is "similar to Starburst with a liquid filling".
It is the first new sweet brand launched by Masterfoods since the £2m launch of Aquadrops, at the start of 2004. The functional range is positioned as a "hydrating" adult sweet and aims to offer an alternative to mints (MW November 6, 2003).
In 2004, it extended the Skittles brand into chewing gum to target teenagers and stop it from cannibalising sales of Starburst. At the same time, it invested £3.4m in a revamp of Starburst.
There has been an explosion in liquid-filled sweets over the past year. Chupa Chups Perfetti van Melle is also investing in this area with the launch of liquid-filled Mentos and Fruitella due later this year. Cadbury has also launched a liquid-filled chewing gum under its Trident brand, which was launched in the UK at the end of January.
Last year, Nestlé Rowntree launched Polo Liquid Orbs into the breath freshening market, although it was axed after less than a year due to poor sales.