Tesco offers glycaemic index logo to food firms

Tesco is in talks with major brand manufacturers to roll out its glycaemic index (GI) logo on their products, even though they could be sold in rival supermarkets.

The retailer will launch a GI Guide diet book in-store in January to target post-Christmas dieters, with 65,000 copies hitting the shelves priced £3.99 each. The book will be serialised in The Sunday Times.

Tesco claims GI has the 'power of the Atkins brand, while promoting sensible eating'. It plans to have 1000 own-brand products bearing GI labels by the end of 2005.

Tesco head of diet and health Hamish Renton revealed that a number of manufacturers were interested in using the GI symbol. 'We want it to become an open system,' he said.

Tesco has invested at least £2m in trials - it costs about £2000 a product to measure levels of carbohydrates based on their effect on blood-sugar levels.

Renton added that there had been initial discussions with high-street bookstores about stocking the GI Guide to broaden awareness.

The GI diet, which is endorsed by Olympic gold medallist and diabetic Sir Steve Redgrave, will be promoted through point-of-sale activity and leaflets. There will also be staff trained to give advice on the diet at Tesco's 230 pharmacies.


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