Premier Foods hopes the UK marketing offensive behind its Asian food brand Sharwood's will encourage more consumers to eat Thai food at home.

The UK company is to spend GBP3m (US$5.9m) on the campaign, which includes new products, a packaging redesign and a TV ad push.

Sharwood's sales are worth some GBP85m to Premier, which also makes brands including Branston pickle and Mr Kipling cakes.

A Premier spokesman said there has been a three-fold increase in the number of UK consumers who have eaten at Thai restaurant in the last six years. "The challenge is to recruit the early mainstream consumers and drive regular usage," he said.

Thai cuisine is one of the fastest growing categories in the UK; the Premier spokesman said he expects the growth in the category to be close to the combined growth of Indian and Chinese food in the UK. He said: "By 2010, Thai will be approaching 50% of the size of Chinese (in the UK)."

Premier has redesigned the packaging for the Sharwood's range, which includes Thai dressings, stir-fry sauces and curry sauces. The company will also launch "one shot" curry pastes, 50g sachets of red curry and green curry pastes.