On August 8, the British supermarket chain Tesco announced it will bring alternative medicines to the masses as it took a controlling stake in a specialist retailer of natural remedies, reports the Financial Times. Tesco has paid £2.93m (Euro4.7m) for a 51 per cent stake in the Nutri Centre, currently a one-shop operation with a mail order service. Under the agreement, a range of Nutri Centre's 22,000 products, including vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies and homeopathic products, will be sold in Tesco's supermarket aisles. This move is in response to the growing quest for a healthy lifestyle: consumers are increasingly looking for health-related food products and supplements and the market is growing strongly. According to Tesco, this market should no longer be regarded as niche. According to some forecasts, the UK market is growing at 15 per cent a year and is forecast to reach £300m (Euro480.8) by 2003. Rohit Mehta, the pharmacist and nutritional expert who founded and owns Nutri Centre, will continue to manage the business, but will also become Tesco's healthy living consultant. The group plans to have 85 Nutri Centre products in 50 stores from Thursday, with a plan to roll the range out to more than 200 of its 700 stores later. "We know that our customers are taking an increasing interest in health and healthy living; we have seen that for some time through the huge move to organics," the company said. "What they want now is better access to complementary medicines and therapies and we can provide that for the mass market."