A new probiotic Cheddar hopes to follow the success of digestive-friendly yogurts and yogurt drinks.
Pilgrims Choice Medium Probiotic Cheddar is a smooth, rich and creamy cheese with a mellow taste, designed to help maintain a healthy digestive system.
It is matured naturally for six months and can be served uncooked in sandwiches or salads, to guarantee the benefits of the probiotic culture.
Pilgrims Choice has added the new medium line in response to consumer demand for products with digestive health benefits. "Heightened awareness of the relationship between diet and health has led to a marked rise in the use of functional ingredients, particularly in the dairy sector," says Mike Davies, MD of North Downs Dairy.
He adds that this product is a 'one size fits all' Cheddar. "Its medium strength flavour, combined with the positive health benefits of probiotics, make it ideal for the whole family to enjoy," says Davies.
"Pilgrims Choice Medium Probiotic Cheddar offers consumers a new way to incorporate friendly bacteria into a balanced diet and further enhances the healthy eating credentials of cheese - already an important source of calcium, protein and vitamins."
The Pilgrims Choice portfolio of cheeses, including Pilgrims Choice Medium Probiotic, will be promoted through a multi-million pound marketing campaign that launches in the spring.
This will include a new TV advert, press advertising, trade and consumer PR and sampling.

Healthy outlook

Brits are buying less confectionery, alcohol and soft drinks, but are spending more on semi-skimmed milk, cheese and eggs.
According to the government's latest Expenditure and Food Survey (covering the period from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006) our shopping habits reveal that the population should be getting healthier.
It estimates that the average intake of vitamin C rose by 6.8% - in keeping with the rise in sales of fruit and vegetables - while fat intake dropped very slightly to 38.1%. There was also an increase in fibre intake of 3.4%.
The survey revealed:
Household expenditure rose by 5.3% for fish, 5.1% for cheese, 5% for eggs and 4.9% for milk
Household expenditure rose by 12.9% for fruit and by 6.3% for vegetables, excluding potatoes
Household expenditure fell by 7.7% for confectionery and by 5.7% for soft drinks
Whole milk sales fell by 3.8% in 2005-06, while those of semi-skimmed milk increased by 3.3%
Since last year, consumption of alcoholic drinks at home and eating out fell by 3.1%.
Jeff Rooker, minister for Sustainable Food and Farming, said: "Healthier trends in food purchases are promising, but we must continue to encourage these trends."

Product round-up

Cranberry & Acerola Superfruit is the latest flavour in Ocean Spray's chilled Grower's Select range.
Acerola, which has a cherry-like taste, has one of the highest natural vitamin C contents of any fruit.
Jonathan Duffin, Ocean Spray business development manager UK Drinks, says that by combining the known health benefits of cranberry with acerola it is meeting the growing consumer demand for refreshing drinks that offer additional healthy benefits.
"We're confident this product will attract more consumers to our Grower's Select range," says Duffin.
Grower's Select has a see-through gauge to measure out 250ml servings, helping consumers check they are drinking the right amount each day.

Total 2% is a new low-fat Greek yogurt for consumers who want a healthier alternative.
The yogurt is free from artificial additives and preservatives, with only 2% fat. It can be used either on its own or in cooking to add creaminess without a high fat content.
David Rapkins, sales director at manufacturer Fage, says: "Consumers look for products that are free from artificial additives, preservatives and sweeteners."
He adds that it will launch Total 2% Honey Twinpot later this year.
Burton's Foods has removed hydrogenated fats from all its snacks including Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels, Maryland Cookies and Cadbury biscuits.
The move is in response to rising consumer concern about trans fatty acids, and means that the company's portfolio of more than 100 products is now free from artificial trans fats. These have been replaced by oil blends with no hydrogenation. No artificial sweeteners or artificial colourings are used in any of its biscuits either.
"We recognised the need to take action over trans fats and are pleased to be able to reassure consumers by removing hydrogenated fats from all our products," says chief executive Paul Kitchener.

Health guru Rosemary Conley has added fresh porridge pots to her range of licensed products.
The ready-to-eat chilled pots from Highgrove Food Distribution are designed to offer consumers a low-calorie option for breakfast and snacking.
The pots are being marketed to highlight the porridge's cholesterol lowering, low-fat, high-fibre, low-GI credentials, with the focus on slow-release energy to 'keep you going for longer'.
The range has been developed to target the growing number of consumers who are looking for healthy, wholesome food products that can aid weight loss as part of a balanced diet.