The mother of a six-year-old boy who suffers from extreme food allergies has been hired by UK supermarket operator Tesco to help develop an own label range of foods for people suffering from allergies.

Patricia Wheway was initially hired by Tesco eighteen months ago when she wrote to the company’s CEO, Sir Terry Leahy, to request a special food range for allergy sufferers as she found shopping for her son George extremely frustrating.

Leahy was so impressed with Wheway’s initiative that he offered her the job of managing a new project to develop a range. This she did, working with branded food companies to develop a cluster of 124 food products which exclude ‘problem ingredients’ such as gluten, milk, soya, egg and yeast, reported the Financial Times.

The range has been such as hit with customers that Tesco is now developing own-label variants of many of the products, again under the management of Wheway. Tesco hopes to see the first products on-shelf by early 2004.