Ricola prepares push for no-sugar sweets

Swiss confectionery brand Ricola is planning a seven-figure marketing assault on the UK's healthy snacks market.

The firm is targeting what it believes is an underdeveloped UK market for sugar-free confectionery at a time of growing public disillusionment with sugary sweets.

Ricola, whose products include Herb Drops and Swiss Herb Candy, is viewing the campaign as an opportunity to position itself as the sector's main brand.

It follows a test period last year for the brand, when it was available in health food shops and was promoted with TV advertising adapted from its European campaign. The campaign featured a Swiss man yodelling the word 'Ricola'.

Ricola has appointed Propaganda to create the strategy for the full campaign, which is likely to include TV advertising.

Ricola is available in 50 countries and has a turnover of 228m Swiss francs (£100.7m).

The brand is currently running a campaign in the US that offers prizes of up to $1m (£560,000) to anyone who offers a Ricola sweet to a 'mystery cougher' who appears in public places around the country.

In Hong Kong, the brand has established itself as a 'Candy for adults'.

Last year it launched Sugar Free Menthol and Sugar Free Cherry variants in the US, where it is the growth leader in cough-medicine sweets.