Cook, the frozen ready meals retailer, is trialling Ann Summers-style parties as it bids to expand its customer base.

The chain is recruiting 'demonstrators' to host parties for a minimum of eight people, who taste a selection of Cook main courses and puddings over lunch or dinner. If guests place an order on the spot, which they collect later from one of Cook's stores, they receive a 10% discount.

"Some products lend themselves to interactivity and food is one," said Cook MD James Perry. "It has not yet been evaluated, but the early signs are good."

The company is also moving to larger manufacturing premises as it expands its offer in farm shops across the UK.

The new site is four times larger and has four times the capacity of its current site in Sittingbourne, Kent. The new site, half a mile away, is scheduled to open in ten months.

Cook had planned to move to a new site in 2005 but the move was postponed because it was able to extend its current site, freeing up more capacity than originally thought. But even more space is needed now to meet demand.

The current site serves Cook's 21 stores across south east England, as well as 50 farm shops nationwide - and the retailer is keen to win listings in more of the latter. "Demand from farm shops is big. Our products sell well and the margins are good," said Perry.

A company web page, Cook for Independents, encourages farm shops, delicatessens and independents to approach it if they are looking for a frozen meals supplier.

Perry said a larger site would not affect quality. Because the company had grown, it was finding it easier to source better-quality products with provenance, direct from farmers, and would communicate this to customers.

"We were previously using NZ lamb as it was good quality and competitively priced, but we are now able to buy directly from Pipers Farm near Tenterden, Kent," said Perry.