Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket, will launch a white bread designed to reduce cholesterol levels across the UK this week, a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

"A unique bread that can help people reduce their cholesterol levels and cut the risk of heart disease goes on sale across the UK this week," Tesco's Mike Baess revealed.

For the first time in the UK, oat bran is being added to bread.

The active ingredient in oats is beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that forms a viscous solution in the stomach and attaches to bile acids, which are produced by the liver from blood cholesterol. The body reacts to increased consumption of beta-glucan by producing more bile acids, and therefore the level of blood cholesterol drops. 

The new bread is designed to appeal to the cholesterol-reducing functional foods segment, which is worth GBP167m annually and grew by 9% over the past year.

"This is the only bread in the UK specifically developed to help customers reduce their levels of cholesterol and is aimed at the growing army of shoppers who are now turning on to functional foods,"
Tesco bakery category manager Andrew Brocklehurst said.

"The bread draws on the same science that makes porridge so effective in reducing cholesterol and helping maintain a healthy heart."

Three slices of Tesco White Bread with Oat Bran contain 0.75g of beta-glucan which is a quarter of the recommended 3g daily intake, Tesco said.