Tesco has finally admitted it is jumping on the low-carb bandwagon by launching a 40-strong own label range called ‘Carb Control’ as it revamps its carb-busting range and fixture in time for the new year slimming season.

The supermarket giant had been rumoured to have been developing a range for many months, and in September The Grocer revealed it was trying to register the name ‘Carb Conscious’ as a trademark (September 4, p12).

Tesco’s total low-carb range will comprise 180 products. This will include 60 branded lines, such as Nestlé’s low-carb Kit Kat and Rolo and the Atkins Nutritionals range.

There will also be 80 existing own label lines that are naturally low in carbohydrates - which will have their carb content flagged with a Carb Control sticker. These lines will continue to be merchandised within the mainstream category fixtures.

In addition, there will be 40 new own label products, which are low or lower carb versions of their standard counterparts - including bakery, impulse and frozen lines. They will be merchandised in a new prominent Carb Control fixture in-store.

The new ranges will be available in 262 stores from January 3. Brand leader Hamish Renton would not disclose the pricing levels of the new own label range, but said it would help to bring low-carb options to mainstream consumers. Suggesting it will undercut existing branded lines - which have been criticised for their high pricing levels.

However, one branded low-carb manufacturer said own label could kill off the low carb market in the UK as it would remove investment and innovation in the category and destroy some of the premium attached to low-carb foods.