Retail giant Tesco has claimed another fresh produce first after revealing it plans to stock Meyer, a sweet lemon variety, in around 400 of its stores in the UK.

The lemon, a naturally occurring lemon-mandarin cross, was originally discovered by US Department of Agriculture representative Frank Meyer on a visit to China around the turn of the century.

According to Tesco citrus buyer Tim Battey, initial reaction to Meyer has been favourable and is likely to prove popular with domestic and professional cooks.

'This fruit is a cook’s dream as it has all the zestiness of a lemon but with the sweetness of a tart orange instead of a harsh sting,' he explained.

'It is also very juicy and is perfect when used as an addition to sauces, dressing and vinaigrettes as well as in desserts. They can be sliced with their peel intact and are often used as an edible garnish for salads, entrees and desserts.'

Since its introduction in the US, the sweet lemon is understood to have become popular especially as an ingredient in cakes and cocktails.

The fruit will be sold in packs containing at least four, priced at £1.85.