UK food group Lacka Foods intends to drive the growth of the breakfast category through the expansion of its Be Fast breakfast drink.

The company, which launched the breakfast drink range in November, has already secured listings at Asda and launched in Nisa this week. Austin Bailey, Lacka commercial director, emphasises that the group’s ambitions do not end there. Lacka is “in communication” with “all the multiples” as well as wholesalers and independent retailers, he reveals.

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“There is a big gap in the market. Breakfast as a category – breakfast cereals – are flat, volume is down a little bit. People are buying more into on-the-go products … This is a really good, convenient on the go option,” he tells just-food at this year’s IFE exhibition in London today (18 March).

“I have never seen something that has started off so well and so strongly. Right now it is growing everywhere. General Mills and Kellogg are doing something in the States. We have launched it and there is another brand called Fuel, in the UK.”

To Bailey, increasing competition in the high-growth breakfast drinks market presents more of an opportunity than a threat to the Be Fast brand.

“We are investing behind Be Fast. We are doing massive sampling… I don’t think competition is a bad thing. I see that as building the category,” Bailey suggests.

He adds that he is “not concerned” about the prospect of a Kellogg launch in the UK. “They are going to do it, if it works for them in America. I hear all these rumours about big brands that are looking at it right now. I think big brands are lazy. They all just make little tweaks in NPD, they just copy each other. If someone like Kellogg comes in and spends GBP2-3m on TV and I am nationally in distribution then I am going to benefit from that,” he suggests.

However, Bailey is not relying on the entry of larger players – and their marketing clout – to drive growth of the category. “I am going to drive category growth,” he insists. “I can do very strong promotions – I can do half price, so my product is only 50p when it is on half price. They are going to have to be pretty competitive to come in and beat my promotional plans.”

Bailey also claims that Be Fast has adopted a distinctive brand identity in a fledgling category that has primarily been pitched at young adult males. “I am trying to be much more mainstream, so breakfast on-the-go that is open to everybody,” he says, hinting at plans to launch products specifically aimed at other demographic groups, such as women.