Amazon has launched its long-awaited online grocery service, pitching the internet giant into direct competition with the biggest names in UK food retail.

The service is launching with an offer of 22,000 products from suppliers including Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and PepsiCo.

Amazon plans to expand the range in the coming months and also offers speciality foods including vegan, gluten-free and kosher products. Customers that pay a £49 annual membership will get free next-day delivery.

“Our aim is to be the place where customers can find and discover any product they want to buy online, and with the introduction of this new store there are thousands of household, niche, ethnic and international grocery items, all available at the click of a button,” said Amazon director of grocery James Leeson.

“With unlimited virtual shelf space, customers can choose from a wide variety of products, all of which benefit from free delivery. We will work tirelessly to increase the selection of grocery items available to be delivered directly to customers’ doors.”

Amazon Fresh, a grocery service operating in the retailer’s home city of Seattle, made its debut in 2007.

The news comes a week after online grocery Ocado confirmed plans for its widely trailed IPO. According to the IGD, the online grocery channel will almost double over the next five years from £3.7bn to £7.2bn in 2014.

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