Upmarket UK retailer Waitrose this afternoon (6 March) officially confirmed that it plans to launch a line of own-label foods, with the first products available in-store from Monday.

The range, called "essential Waitrose", will cover 1,400 products, comprising of staple grocery products. It will be made up of 200 new lines as well as existing Waitrose products, 450 of which will be reduced in price.

Although essential Waitrose will be offered at lower prices than the majority of products already carried by the supermarket, the company was quick to emphasise that it has not compromised on quality.

"As with all Waitrose own-label products, the supermarket hasn't compromised on quality standards or sourcing integrity," Waitrose said. "All pork used in essential Waitrose is British and outdoor reared, all chicken is British and eggs are free range; bananas are Fairtrade, and UK fruit and vegetables are LEAF [Linking Environment And Farming scheme] accredited."

The essential Waitrose line is designed to make it easier to shop for own-label staples, offering consistent, easily identifiable packaging.

"Customer research tells us that although we are a destination store for quality products, shopping for our own label essential items hasn't been as easy as it could be," Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said.

"Waitrose own-label lines have always been produced to a superior quality and even sold as a stand-alone brand in quality supermarkets throughout the world. essential Waitrose effectively combines the quality our customers have come to expect and the reassurance of Waitrose values, together with affordable prices and an easily recognisable brand."