Channel 4 is set to put rosé veal firmly on the public agenda this spring with a new documentary fronted by Jimmy Doherty.

In April, the broadcaster plans to show a three-part series in which Doherty explores the idea of producing ethical but affordable meat products for the masses, one of them rosé veal.

Doherty has been working with Tesco on the programme exploring new meat products including - it is understood - rosé veal meatballs.

Tesco would not comment on the meatballs but confirmed it was working with Doherty. “There are a number of different products through different welfare systems we are considering, but no decisions have been taken as to which, if any at all, would be taken to market,” a spokeswoman said. Tesco was also carrying out its own consumer research into rosé veal, she added.

The documentary has raised concerns in parts of the dairy industry, which fears the programme could put it in the spotlight, as it is likely to include footage of a male calf being shot.

NFU chief dairy adviser Rob Newbery said the NFU fully supported the programme’s aim of creating a bigger market for rosé veal but added that he was “deeply concerned” about how such footage would affect the tone of the programme. “It could just put consumers off meat and dairy completely,” he said.

Channel 4 said thousands of veal calves were currently being culled at birth because there was no demand for them. “We have done some filming to illustrate this issue, and any material will be handled sensitively in the programme,” a spokeswoman added.

But Newbery said that although the practice had once been widespread, it had become less common as the market for rosé veal had grown.