Source: Scotmid

It invested in the infrastructure of 60 stores last year in a bid to broaden its food to go offering 

Scotmid enjoyed a 20% uptick in food-to-go sales last year as it continued to boost product range across its estate.

The Scottish co-op society told The Grocer it invested in the infrastructure of 60 stores in 2021 in a bid to broaden its food-to-go offering under its ‘The Kitchen’ banner.

The move included kitting out 20 sites with a full counter area, which can offer a range of up to 250 freshly prepared products, while a further 20 had Rational ovens installed. Some stores were also upgraded with digital screens to showcase their food-to-go menu to shoppers.

It is also expecting to roll its recently launched Sweet Cravings Dessert Bar, which offers milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, hot waffles and crêpes, and its Pizza Art concept, which offers made-to-order 12-inch sourdough pizzas, to more stores over the next year. 

It said the biggest challenge it faced during the development of its offer had been around low staffing levels due to Covid and a “competitive labour market”. Its profits managed to “keep apace”, however, despite the backdrop of the pandemic pulling the food-to-go market value down.

”Our ultimate goal is for The Kitchen at Scotmid to be at the forefront of food to go within UK,” said Scotmid head of food to go Danny Scobie. “We have a clear strategy that is focused on our core purpose of serving our communities and improving everyday lives while taking inspiration of what can be achieved from around the world from the best-in-class operators.” 

The Kitchen is offered across Scotmid’s entire 189-store estate. It usually offers a craft bakery of savoury foods, fresh cakes, made-in-store baguettes and hot food for breakfast, as well as burgers and chicken.

It has been developing the range further, however, including a new sourdough baguette range with fillings such as shredded ham hock, egg & smashed avocado and chicken tikka & onion bhaji that launched in December, as well a new salad bowl range and pizza sandwiches.

A new self-serve salad bar is also set to launch in the next quarter in a trial at its Leven Street store in Edinburgh. It will look to add the concept into city centre locations following the pilot.

It said it had built the ‘The Kitchen’ concept “modularly” so the business could pick and choose what products from the range would work best at a store depending on location, demographic and customer missions.

“We have clear modules that make sure that when we are refitting stores that The Kitchen at Scotmid food to go offering is given the space it requires to maximise the opportunity and has the right space based on the range,” added Scobie.

“The offer is laid out to make it easy for customers on that food for now mission so that the associated product categories are all grouped together.”

The business said it planned to make a similar investment on its food-to-go offer this year to “keep up momentum”, including finding more ways of bringing it to more customers online. It currently offers food to go on Snappy Shopper, but is in discussions with “one of the industry-leading platforms” to launch this year.