The Co-operative is launching Free From and Wholefoods ranges under its own label.
The retailer has also picked up a couple of awards for responsible retailing.
The Co-operative has been named Most Improved Supermarket at Compassion in World Farming’s annual Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards and it has scooped the Best Sustainable Product award at the SuperMeat & Fish awards for the second year running.
The Co-operative said its Free From range is being introduced to meet the increasing demand from shoppers for gluten and wheat-free foods. Several of the new products are also free from dairy.
The range features staple products such as Fusilli Pasta and bakery lines including English Muffins and Ciabatta Rolls plus treats such as the Triple Chocolate Cookies.
Kate Jones, head of own-brand products for The Co-operative Food, said: “The demand for gluten and wheat-free products has risen recently, as more people choose to avoid them in their diet out of personal preference, as well as for health reasons. We’re very pleased with our new range, as we feel each product tastes fantastic. The full range is suitable for people with coeliac disease, and we’re delighted to offer our shoppers a greater choice of these foods without compromising on quality or flavour.”
The Co-operative’s has also reformulated its premium range of Truly Irresistible sausages and burgers to be free from gluten and wheat.
The Free From product range will be complemented by a number of established free from branded products, including lines from Doves Farm, Mrs Crimble, Alpro and Genius.
A spokesperson for Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease and DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis), said: “We are delighted the UK food industry is responding to the needs of the 1 in 100 people in the UK who have coeliac disease, an auto-immune condition caused by intolerence to gluten and we are always pleased to see new products being launched enabling those who have to have a gluten-free diet for life, a wider choice of products to enjoy.”
The Free From range will be available in larger Co-operative Food stores only.
The new Wholefoods range consists of naturally wholesome products, which are minimally processed and contain no added sugar or salt, according to the Co-operative.
The range includes both new and existing products, which have been revamped and brought together under the Wholefoods branding.
New products include a Chilli Pepper Salad Topper, Quinoa and an Orchard Mix, popcorn maize, Lentilles Vertes, Adzuki Beans and a dried Broth & Soup Mix.
The Co-operative Wholefoods range comprises over 57 products (with more launching later in 2011), including healthier alternatives to salty or sugary snacks such as nuts and seeds and dried fruit mixes; as well as hearty, wholesome ingredients such as beans, pulses and wholegrain pasta.