Tesco this week waged war on competitors with a £100 million investment in the launch of its Discounter range.

Tesco commercial director Richard Brasher said research showed that price is featuring heavily on shoppers’ list of concerns. He would not be drawn on whether the range was launched in direct competition with discounters Aldi and Lidl, but said: “Tesco’s response to the downturn of the early 1990s was to launch the Value range and the Discounter range is today’s response to customers.”

The grocer has launched 350 new products under the Discount Brands at Tesco label, including Oatland Oaties biscuits and All About Shine Pro-Vitamin shampoo. The range will initially be displayed in one aisle in stores, then sold alongside similar lines.

Brasher said many of Tesco’s Value lines are already cheaper than the discount grocers and the new range “fills the gap with products that are cheaper than their branded alternatives”. He added: “It offers another price position for customers.”

The grocer has also cut prices on several Tesco and branded lines, including Classic Coffee and Market Value Carrots, and will run several offers on non-food products under the Great Value Special Buys label.

The initiative came as Asda revealed 5,000 price cuts across its Smart Price products, which it claims could help customers slash their weekly shopping bill by more than 50 per cent.

The Co-op also waded into the price war with an ad campaign promoting its offers, using the strapline “a great deal locally”. Its offers run across all food lines and include “better than half-price” offers, as well as bogofs.

John Lewis Partnership-owned Waitrose also acknowledged the need for price discounting. Managing director Mark Price claimed that investment in its price proposition meant that Waitrose is cheaper than Aldi in five out of 25 categories.

Price added that Waitrose will invest in further labelling in stores this autumn to change the perception that it is more expensive than other grocers.