Asda's mission to ignore pressure from the meat industry and continue to offer the British public cheap food has continued with the launch of a 50p pack of mince.

The supermarket this week announced a two-week promotion slashing the price of a 400g pack of Smartprice fresh mince from 96p to 50p.

The mince meat promotion follows the storm of publicity generated by the launch of the 2p sausage earlier this month and the £2 chicken last year.

Asda said it had made the move to allow families to make classic meals such as spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie or meatballs for under £1.50.

"At Asda we don't mince about with price reductions, we make price cuts that make a real difference," said Jim Viggars, Asda meat buyer.

"With Asda's monthly income tracker showing the average family is £8 a week worse off when compared with the same time last year, this couldn't come at a better time."

The cost of the mince promotion was being borne by Asda and not farmers, who were still receiving the same as they were beforehand, said Viggars, adding that all of the mince had been sourced from farms in the UK and Ireland.

Sales of mince had soared as the economy deteriorated and shoppers looked for cheaper options, he said. Across Asda's total mince offer, sales were up 35% by volume, the company confirmed.

In addition to the value lines, it is selling an Extra Special 500g fresh mince pack at £2.99, which uses regionally sourced extra mature beef, as consumers trade down from more premium-priced meats.

Asda's recent promotions on meat have been roundly criticised by Bpex, which said that the initiatives undermined industry attempts to change consumer perceptions of the price of meat and influence them to pay more for British produce.