Sainsbury’s has slashed the price of packs of basic fruit and vegetables to just 40p and will add a selection of “aesthetically challenged” items to its range that would normally not make it onto supermarket shelves.

The grocer has cut the price of 10 most popular fruit and vegetable lines from today until September 2, including carrots, tomatoes and onions.

Sainsbury’s own-brand manager Sophie Firth said: “With sales of basics fruit and veg about 30 per cent higher than this time last year, we know that our customers appreciate the low prices but great standards of the range. It’s end of the month, school holidays and post bank holiday and with household budgets under pressure, we felt it was the right time to cut prices on some of our most popular basic lines.”

Sainsbury’s has also added 15 “aesthetically challenged” ranges of fruit and vegetables to its basics range, meaning produce that is normally rejected for cosmetic reasons will now make it onto supermarket shelves.

The range includes exotic crops such as aubergines, avocados and sweet potatoes “in all shapes and sizes”, according to the retailer.

Sainsbury’s produce planner Emma Knott said: “We think of our basics fruit and veg as rough diamonds; they may not make the grade visually, but they taste fantastic.”