Northern Foods said in its annual report for the year to 31 March that it would test market the "definitive Christmas Pudding" this year.

The pudding will draw on nearly 120 years of experience and original Victorian recipes. A successful test will result in a full launch in 2008.

Northern Foods owns the Matthew Walker pudding brand and claims to make two thirds of Christmas puddings in the UK.

Reduced factory costs will result from offering the brand to smaller trade customers, who currently have their own bespoke recipes at high cost to both partners, it said.

Northern Foods said last year was one of "real progress", following a restructure in 2006, which saw it sell off 40% of its businesses, including bakery operations.