Outspoken celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has inadvertently belittled his premium boxed chocolate range while hitting back at critics.

Responding to a question on the quality of the range while speaking at a Channel 4 food event last week, Ramsay said that he was not overly concerned with the quality of the chocolates, because of their budget price.

In a statement reminiscent of Gerald Ratner's infamous description of his own jewellery brand as 'total crap' 15 years ago, Ramsay said: "I don't think you're going to be blown away at £3.99-odd for a box. I don't worry about the standard of the chocolates because they're £3.99. I don't feel that is degrading."

The range, manufactured by Ashbury Confectionery, was launched in 2003 and is based on desserts served in Ramsay's Michelin-starred restaurants.

Products include Gordon Ramsay Secrets, Gordon Ramsay's Just Desserts Chocolates, mint chocolates and seasonal packs.

David Zulman, MD of Ashbury Confectionery, said the products actually had an rsp of £5.99, adding: "The quality of the product is at the top end of the mass market and easily stands up to any other product in the sector. The range has been very successful over the past four years and the number of repeat orders speaks for itself."

Ramsay said that the range generated about £7.5m to £8m a year for his company. "It was a test five years ago on the back of my book Just Desserts. They were sneaked on to the market without any big marketing plan and then just steamrolled," he said. He also revealed that the chocolates are set to evolve, with new flavours and possibly truffles.

Premium confectionery is not Ramsay's only effort at celebrity branding. Two years ago he launched a range of meal kits to allow shoppers to sample his fine dining at home, while earlier this month he linked up with drinks retailer Threshers for a PoS campaign called 'Wines You Can Swear By' (The Grocer, 14 October, p11).