Tesco's share of chilled ready meals has leapt 13.3% in the past year, driven by NPD in world ­cuisine.

The retailer accounts for almost a quarter of chilled ready meals sales and its world cuisine offering, in almost 300 stores, generates sales of £85m a year.

It has boosted its presence in ready meals through exclusive, branded partnerships with the likes of Ken Hom in a bid to improve perceptions of ethnic ready meals. "Tesco has put the consumer at the heart of NPD to deliver a high percentage of incremental growth to its ready meals aisles," said David Hamilton, innovations director at Kerry Foods.

As well as Ken Hom, Kerry has worked with Tesco in developing exclusive ready meals lines such as City Kitchen, Levi Roots and French Classic.

Although Tesco's latest focus is on developing ranges for South American, West African and South African customers, the chain continues to increase its offerings of more established ethnic cuisines.

"In the three years I have been with Enco, Tesco has gone from 50 stores stocking Caribbean products to 200 stores, and you will see similar growth from other retailers," said George Phillips, commercial director at Enco Products.