US chocolate maker Ghirardelli is launching the first line of nationally-distributed premium chocolate bars in a bid to satisfy a rising consumer demand for gourmet foods.

The San Francisco-based firm is launching bars with a variety of fillings including caramel, mint and raspberry, along with two premium milk and dark chocolate bars.

Fabrizio Parini, senior vice president of marketing for Ghirardelli, said: "Chocolate lovers can now experience the pleasure of indulging in superior quality chocolate with the comfort of familiar flavours at an affordable price."

The bars are available in stores with a suggested retail price of US$2.29.

Ghirardelli's product line includes its signature Squares chocolate, Intense Dark chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate bars, baking chocolate and beverages.