In partnership with 20th Century Fox, Uttoxeter, UK-based manufacturer Elkes Biscuits, a subsidiary of Northern Foods, is to take its first significant step into character brands with the UK launch of its 'Simpsons' Yo! Choco Bars and Munch Bars.

The bars will be the first in an extended range of biscuits which will feature characters from the internationally acclaimed cartoon show, The Simpsons.

The launch reflects research commissioned by the company that highlights that the 'everyday biscuit' sector is failing to involve children, which are its core consumers. Elkes' commercial director Simon Smith commented: "Although there is now a separate sector for children's biscuits on most fixtures, many of these products are offered at premium prices. There is a wider opportunity to drive category growth by appealing to children from the main fixture.

Elkes Biscuits researched a number of character licences, with The Simpsons emerging as a clear favourite. Simon Smith continued: "We selected The Simpsons because the concept satisfied our four main criteria for market success; broad appeal, longevity, credibility and relevance to food. Our decision was reinforced by the fact that you only have to talk to the people around you to realise the phenomenal success of The Simpsons here in the UK. Recall of The Simpsons characters, from people of all ages, is outstanding."

Yo! Choco Bars will retail at around £0.99 (US$1.54) for a pack of ten. Packaging for the individual bars will show a number of Bart Simpson graphics and a different Bart 'chalk board slogan' will be featured on the inside of every wrapper.

Munch Bars will also retail at around £0.99 for a pack of ten. Packaging will display Homer Simpson graphics and a different character from The Simpsons will be printed inside every wrapper.

The bars will be available nationally at major supermarkets and other retailers throughout the UK from 1 October with additions to the range planned for early 2003.