Asda has triumphed in the race to launch the first ­supermarket own-label ­babyfood range.

The retailer started introducing the 14-strong Little Angels organic babyfood range to stores last week following two years of research and development.

The range met demand for a lower-priced alternative to branded babyfood offerings, said Asda. A stage one Little Angels pouch retails at 71p more than 50p less than a similar line from Ella's Kitchen.

"Money is tight at the moment and mums want the lowest prices possible in the baby aisle," said Claire Brierley, head of product for non-edible grocery at Asda.

Finding an own-label manufacturing partner with strong enough quality credentials to produce babyfood had been a challenge, admitted Simon Hollidge, Asda's product manager for ­babyfood.

"When we first started researching babyfood, we had to rule out a large number of potential supply partners," he said. "Manufacturing babyfood involves a great deal of ­legislation, nutritional ­requirements and independent testing in accredited ­laboratories."

Asda developed the Little Angels recipes with help from dietician Jane Stobie, who has previously worked for Ella's Kitchen.

The success of Ella's, which saw sales rocket 73.5% to £15.7m last year [Nielsen 52w/e 2 October 2010], and recent relaunches from Hipp and Plum Baby meant Little Angels was entering a ­"particularly competitive" category, said Hollidge.

"Generally the competition in babyfood has got hotter because money is tighter and brands are striving to win share," he said. "But in the past week, sales of Little Angels have beaten expectations. We can only hope that our supermarket rivals will see us as innovators in the market."

The pouches join a non-food lineup of Little Angels products launched five years ago that is suitable for four to 12 month-olds.

Their launch came the same week as Morrisons announced the £70m ­acquisition of baby goods website Kiddicare, which marked the retailer's first foray online.