Wholesale giant Booker has launched its first-ever pre-packed fresh meat range, which it claims will help independent retailers compete with the multiples.

The six-strong Butcher's Market range comprises Lincolnshire sausages, pork steaks, lamb chops, chicken fillets, minced beef and sirloin steaks. All products come in price-marked packs and Booker has promised retailers an average margin of 27.9% across the range, which will sell for between £1 for the sausages and £3.50 for two sirloin steaks.

Booker said it would be operating an every day low-pricing strategy for the range, which it said had been benchmarked against the leading supermarkets.

Butcher's Market was launched in 151 of Booker's 173 depots this month following a six-month trial in its Blackpool depot.

The range was developed following talks with customers during which they identified an opportunity in fresh meat and produce. "Booker customers can make impressive returns from even low quantities," said meat category manager Alan Brett-Pitt. "Retailers that can sell just one of each product a day could grow sales by £5,278 and make an extra £1,463 profit a year."

Booker will encourage retailers to pre-order their requirements to ensure they have maximum shelf life and to cut wastage.

Retailers can phone or fax the details of what they need to their local branch where their order can be prepared in time for collection. The range will also be available through Booker's delivered business.

Three products - the pork, lamb and sirloin - will be prepared by the in-store butchery department while the others will be sourced directly from suppliers. Booker is promising up to six days shelf life on the products prepared in its branches and three days for the other lines.

Although there are no plans to grow the range in the short term, Brett-Pitt suggested Booker may look at barbecue packs and add other sausage varieties.

The wholesaler will also be providing retailers with PoS material and food hygiene information.