Thorntons has made the move into the branded chilled bakery and desserts sector with the launch of a nine-strong range into the grocery channel this month.

Alongside the dessert range, manufactured for Thorntons by Elisabeth the Chef, the confectionery firm, which already has a successful ambient cakes and bites range, has introduced a range of four cookies, produced by Northumbrian Fine Foods. The firm said it was pitching the range above Cadbury’s and Nestlé’s offering in this category, but below premium ranges such as Gü, and hoped to capitalise on the "middle market".

Thorntons’ sales and operations director Barry Bloomer said that, with the firm’s turnover in the grocery retail division now at £53m and growing at over 40%, it was a "natural progression" to branch out into chilled desserts.

The dessert range features: Sticky Toffee Pudding; Chocolate & Toffee Tart; Sticky Toffee Tart; Sticky Double Chocolate Pudding; and Treacle Tart, and will be available in all multiples, independents and convenience stores but not in Thorntons’ own stores.

The cookie range is listed in Morrisons and Thorntons stores, with some skus to launch in Asda and Sainsbury’s this month.