This week has seen the launch of Findus Foodservices UK; a new direction for the frozen foods guru who turns over about US$600m a year, and evidence that Findus is undergoing some serious re-branding.

In 1999, the manufacturer was bought from Nestlé by a Swedish company, EQT Scandinavia BV, which took Findus back to the country it was originally established in. During its foray into the arms of Nestlé, in the minds of UK consumers the company name became synonymous with the highly popular crispy pancakes and French bread pizzas. Yet as the French stick became less exotic, sales started to fall, and the Findus management have decided on some radical changes; they wish Findus to become associated with high quality, innovative foodservice.

On the European continent, Finds Foodservice is already an established brand. Aside from the Baltic regions, the company also has large operations in France and Spain. In the UK however, the company has been forced to put in some extra effort to reinvent the company's reputations among consumers as the crispy pizza king. 

To do this it is relying heavily on a new range of foods, with a marked improvement in terms of quality and interest. These are not the convenience snacks of yesteryear, Findus is now producing a carefully thought out, tasty meals in three predominant categories.

The vegetarian range aims to cash in on a ready market, by providing a welcome alternative to the tired veggie staples on many menus. New grills come in a variety of vegetable bases; beetroot, celery or carrot, and the company has also developed Pesto Lasagne, Mediterranean Falafel Nuggets and Cous Cous Mediterranean.

A new range of Swedish meals is another innovative feature of Findus Foodservices, which aim first to create and then to dominate a market for Swedish dishes in UK restaurants. The products on offer, mainly based around the country's traditional meatballs and fried potato brunch, have already proved popular in the IKEA restaurants.

The third category is probably the most important, and certainly the closest to previous Findus form. The range of seafood dishes that accompany the launch are markedly different to earlier products, however. Cod Gratin Almondine and Skipper Cod Portion with Parsley are aiming at a different palate to the original Findus breaded cod portions, and even the humble fish finger gets a more upmarket feel when it becomes a Double Cod Fish Finger. The menu is still largely based around the staple fish favourite cod, but the company sources the fish from the Baltic regions, where there are no problems with falling stocks, as in the North Sea.

"This is a serious assault on the food service industry," explained Findus spokesman Michael Bennett. "Findus aims to be among the top four sector players."

A little ambitious, maybe? Bennett smiles: "Findus is a very ambitious company."