EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou is set to launch a new budget food store brand with a pricing structure below that of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

The brand extension was sparked by recent press stories covering the widespread use of food banks by the needy, he said.

“I have a feeling that there is a gap in the food retail market – a niche below some of the current budget operators such as Aldi and Lidl,” he added.

The pilot easyFoodstore will be opened in an already-acquired nine floor freehold property in Croydon, South London. The top three floors of the building will also be converted into an easyHotel.

The store’s range will major on basic, “no-brand-name” ambient and chilled foods at bargain prices.

“If the pilot site shows there is a need for this offering, easyFoodstore could be rolled out on a wider basis from 2014 onwards using freehold retail sites - buying into the weaker real estate prices in that sector.

“I hope that a commercially viable venture offering affordable food will help many people in need as well as produce a viable return for the capital employed,” Haji-Ioannou added.