Tesco will shelve tomatoes with higher levels of a pigment that has extra potential health benefits than those found in normal tomato vines.

The supermarket chain’s Healthy Living Tomatoes on the Vine range contains up to twice the normal amount of the pigment lycopene – an antioxidant linked with potentially reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

The tomatoes will be sold in a pack containing four to five tomatoes and costing GBP1.89 (US$3.3), with demand for the fruit having rocketed by 10% in the past year.

Tesco produce technical manager Ian Reed said: “The health benefits of antioxidants such as lycopene in our diets have recently attracted a lot of positive attention from both the medical and culinary worlds.

“Functional foods such as tomatoes naturally have high levels of lycopene however this naturally-bred variety has even higher levels than standard ones and tastes great as well.”

The tomatoes, originally bred in Holland, have been grown by Humber VHB in Runcton, West Sussex, and are to be trialled on the south coast of England. An organic range of the tomatoes is expected to follow later this year