United Biscuits (UB) will launch McVitie’s Digestive Nibbles, in what the company described as its “biggest new product development” for 2016.

With Digestive Nibbles, UB will bring the iconic McVitie’s Digestives brand into the bite-sized sharing format.

Nibbles will be available in four varieties: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, double chocolate and caramel. These will all come in 120g re-sealable pouches, and will be priced at £1.89.

A £4 million marketing investment will support the launch, which will include television, digital and social campaigns. The line will be launched in grocery, convenience and forecourt retailers and will support category growth.

The company said that the launch aimed to help UB “unlock new consumption occasions”. The McVitie’s Digestive Nibbles are expected to reach a retail sales value of £17m in the first year.

Sarah Heynen, marketing director of Sweet Biscuits at UB, said: “The launch of McVitie’s Digestives Nibbles is a significant moment for UB and the category, set to break new ground in sweet biscuits. This is an exciting proposition for the market, targeting a new evening sharing treat occasion for biscuits.”

Part of the £4m investment has gone on an app that, when pointed at a Chocolate Digestives packet, gives shoppers their own virtual kitten, similar to those that appear in its TV ad. The kitten will act as a Tamagotchi-style pet, playing with people as and when they use the app.

Heynen said the app showed that digital was no longer an afterthought when planning the brand’s marketing. Some 15% of the campaign’s outlay will go into digital initiatives, up from 5% in 2014, with more going on YouTube pre-roll, as well as partnering with Buzzfeed.

“We believe it’s important to do a few things well,” explained Heynen. “Our strategy on McVitie’s is unashamedly the same year on year. It’s about adding a fresh twist to make sure that what we’re doing feels exciting and new.”

The Trio is back

Alongside the McVitie’s launch, UB will re-launch the retro Trio chocolate bar, which is filled with toffee-fudgey-flavoured cream and coated in thick chocolate, after a Facebook campaign demanded its return. Packs of the biscuits, discontinued 13 years ago, will be available in all major UK supermarkets from 1 March, for a limited time.

Go Ahead will also get two new launches this year. Cookie Bites in white chocolate & raspberry, and chocolate & orange flavours will launch in March, alongside Pud Bakes in cherry bakewell, and lemon tart variants in May. The aim of these is to make Go Ahead a mid-afternoon and evening choice, as well as a breakfast snack.