Source: Heart of England Co-op

It is making its debut at the society’s newly opened Lower Heathcote store in Warwick

The Heart of England Co-op has launched a new food-to-go concept dubbed Deli Co.

It is making its debut at the society’s newly opened Lower Heathcote store in Warwick. It features breakfast, lunch, hot food to go, snacks, fresh cakes, baguettes and sandwiches, and fresh tea and coffee.

There are also vending machines available including Coca-Cola, Fanta, Tango Ice Blast and Robinsons Fruit Ice. Deli Co will work alongside more “established parts” of Heart of England’s offer such as its sandwich meal deal, the retailer said.

The co-op told The Grocer it had a further three stores planned to take on the new food-to-go offering in “similar iterations”. It is also looking into how Deli Co can be applied in a modular approach to fit smaller and larger spaces.

“We recognised that post-pandemic food to go has come back strongly and we feel there is future requirement to expand further into this space, whilst being sensitive to labour rate challenges,” said Heart of England Co-op GM of the food division Steve Browne.

“More customers are seeking immediate consumption with busier lives, which will only take this pattern one way.”

The new 4,000 sq ft Warwick food store has been opened in a £2.7m venture. It takes the society’s estate to 36 overall, while making it the third store operated by the society in the local area.

Other product offerings include gifting, horticulture and a packaging-free fixture supplied. The store also includes indoor seating, outdoor seating, Amazon lockers and electric vehicle charging facilities.

“We have carefully planned this new store to bring together the very best features of our other outlets and to showcase a range of new features – not least our new Deli Co. fresh food and drink range,” Browne continued.

“We have a long-standing, loyal customer base in the area already through our stores in Warwick Gates and Woodloes and we look forward to showing more customers what we have to offer at Lower Heathcote.”

The store forms part of a larger 8,500 sq ft local retail centre, which is also owned and operated by the society. Once complete, the site will also incorporate a chip shop, dentist and pharmacy.