Waitrose is understood to be launching a lower-priced food range in an attempt to up the ante in the grocery price war.

The grocer is thought to be introducing the range, dubbed Essentials, on Monday. It is believed that Waitrose does not want to position it alongside rival grocers’ lines such as Tesco Value and Sainsbury’s Basics.

Waitrose has become increasingly price competitive in recent months and stepped up promotions. Managing director Mark Price has said it is offering shoppers options so they don’t trade out of Waitrose. The grocer’s online partner Ocado also launched a basics line in December, designed to be cheaper than Waitrose own-label equivalents.

Planet Retail grocery retail analyst Natalie Berg said the move is “smart” and follows Spanish department store El Corte Inglés’ launch of a basics food line, called Aliada, last October. “El Corte Inglés is widely seen as providing a similar upmarket food offer to Waitrose so it shows everyone is recognising customers of all demographics are trading down.”

Waitrose declined to comment.