Nestlé has made a surprise foray into cooked sliced meats with the launch of a four-strong range of Herta-branded hams.

Herta has been sold in the UK for 23 years, but until now, only frankfurters and some French ham has been sold under the brand.

Last week, Nestlé launched four Herta Continental hams - made in the Herta factory in Strasbourg - into Sainsbury’s. The products include Classic French, Beechwood Smoked, Continental Grilled and Oven-Roasted Herbed, each of which is on sale for £2.00 for a 120g pack [].

Nestlé’s launch comes as the major processed food companies take a growing interest in cooked sliced pre-packed meats. Last month, Kerry Foods extended its Richmond brand beyond sausages with the launch of cooked and crumbed 140g hams into Asda (rsp: £1.50). Herta ham is also likely to compete with brands such as Danepak, which is also sold in Sainsbury’s.

Outside the UK, the Herta brand stretches across a number of categories including pie and pizza dough, cake and cookie mix and snacks.