Greencore is putting a multimillion-pound budget behind the launch of its first chilled range, which has been designed to help the convenience sector take on the supermarkets.
The 28-strong Kiveton's Kitchen brand is positioned between the premium and standard lines of the multiples, but offer a quality and depth of range not typically found in convenience.
It comprises British classics, such as cottage pie and cauliflower cheese, as well as Italian and Asian dishes - all of which contain no hydrogenated fats and only ingredients that can be found in a kitchen cupboard.
"Customers have an expectation that chilled food in c-stores is not as good quality as in supermarkets and they think they will be disappointed," said commercial director Tim Ryan.
"It's been a self-perpetuating downward spiral. These ranges often have to be longer life to avoid wastage, and the products as a result are not as good quality. We've made a significantly higher investment in ingredients than our competitors, so we don't use additives or preservatives to have the same shelf life."
The debut range spans ready meals, pizzas, sauces, pastas and breads, with prices ranging from 99p to £3.99. However, there is potential for the range to double in size or be adapted in the light of consumer reaction.
"We may find consumers want more products or we end up sticking with about 30 lines but made up of a different offer," said Ryan.
"We're not trying to be fancy. If you look at Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, the products often contain more exotic ingredients. But this is standard fare, which will encourage repeat purchase."
A press campaign will be launched in the late spring, supported by direct mail and sampling.
The launch will be backed by price promotions, offering up to 25% discounts and cross-range deals, such as a free bread with a ready meal.
Ryan said the range would not go down the bogof route, however. "To half-price this range would mean taking the quality down, but this is about offering fantastic food at good value."