The Co-operative is taking on the might of Procter & Gamble with the launch of a cheaper own-label version of its hugely successful Ariel Excel Gel.

Just like Ariel, the new Co-operative Ultra Gel has been designed to clean from as low as 15 degrees. However at £2.99 for a 20-wash bottle, the retailer's gel is a pound cheaper than the Ariel version which is currently priced at £3.98 in the major supermarkets for a 666ml 18-wash bottle.

The range includes a two-in-one, lavender-scented variant as well as biological and non-biological products. It is also accredited by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. The newcomer will be introduced to stores on Wednesday and will carry a special introductory price of £2.49 until 7 July.

"We're incredibly proud of this new range and are confident that our customers will love the products," said Michelle Wilkinson, category buyer at The Co-operative. "Laundry gels that clean at low temperatures are the new big thing in this sector, and these own-brand products are excellent. The technology behind these products is very advanced."

Ariel Excel Gel was launched last October to widespread acclaim from environmental groups. Asda laundry buyer Simon Spears told The Grocer in December that it had had been an instant hit with consumers. "It's really caught the public imagination, which I thought would take longer, given that it's a new format," he said.