Launched: June 2009
The City Kitchen quickly gained plaudits for its style and the quality of ingredients following its launch last June. Although it was developed by Kerry Foods for Tesco, the retailer's branding takes second place to the name of the range, supported by a simple packaging format that enables customers to see the ingredients before purchase.
The design "makes the colour of the products the hero", says Doug James, MD of Honey Creative, which helped develop the packaging. The line-up includes oriental, Indian, Italian and vegetarian recipes (rsps: £3 to £4).
Launched: February 2010
The stew is undergoing a transformation thanks to Stewed, which relaunched in single-serve, 325g pots in February, less than a year after it first appeared in retailers, to appeal to the lunchtime market.
Founder and MD Alan Rosenthal initially tested the product at a farmers' market in north London before approaching a Budgens store in Crouch End. The product is now selling in Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Ocado (rsp: £3.49 to £3.79). "There's a story behind Stewed that supermarkets cannot really copy that we started in a farmers' market," says Rosenthal.
Levi Roots ready meals
Launched: May 2010
The promotion and packaging of this new range of Caribbean chilled ready meals relies heavily on the image of Levi Roots and his mantra "Put some soul in your food". The nine-strong range, which includes Jamaican Coconut Chicken Curry, Reggae Reggae Chicken and Caribbean Curried Noodles, launched in late May (rsp: £2.99) and is exclusive to Tesco for the first nine months.
"If you use a celebrity tie-in, it has to fit with what is in the pack, and Levi is obviously a fit with the Caribbean," says Sue Tiller, category director for consumer brands at manufacturer Kerry Foods.
Menu From Waitrose
Launched: March 2010
With more consumers opting to trade restaurant visits for high-quality food at home, Waitrose launched its Menu From range in March, in collaboration with well-known chefs including Anthony Demetre of Soho's Arbutus. The range includes a starter for two of Scallops with Smoked Bacon & Black Pudding (rsp: £6.99) and a main course of Navarin of Lamb for two (rsp: £8.99).
Although expensive by ready meal standards, a splurge on this range for a romantic night in still wouldn't come close to the cost of a a visit to Demetre's restaurant.
Focus On Chilled Ready Meals