Eight Budgens stores have started selling premium loaves of bread as the symbol group continues to improve its top-end range.

Supplied by The Bread Roll Co, sundried tomato & sourdough bread, artisan rye baguettes and focaccia are among the breads being trialled. 

The new line-up also features sweet lines, such as a rocky road cupcake injected with Belgian chocolate and caramel-infused giant cookies.

Wicker baskets stocked with the new lines will be scattered around the trial stores and direct customers toward the bakery aisle, which is usually at the back of Budgens' stores. 

Stores will also display items to eat with bread - such as jam or balsamic vinegar - next to the bakery display, and increase in-store sampling. 

The move is the latest in a host of initiatives by Musgrave Group to boost Budgens' competitiveness. Last month, it vowed Budgens stores would price-match Tesco on 800 products - without retailers' margins suffering. 

Meanwhile, Budgens' catch of the day initiative, which brings fish from the sea to the shelf in 36 hours, has been expanded after trials led to a 45% sales increase.