Ed Bedington
Somerfield has claimed a first with the launch of a wide range of microwaveable meats.
The multiple said it believed it was the first to offer such a wide selection of products, ranged across pork, lamb and beef.
Charlotte Berry, product group manager, said: "It's new to us and I don't think anyone else has a range like this."
The microwaveable meats include braised lamb with leeks, lamb shank with minted gravy, braised steak in onion gravy, pork with sage and onion and hickory smoked pork ribs (rsp: £2.49 to £3.49, 275g-425g).
The range, supplied by Dawn Meats, is pre-cooked for three to four hours to tenderise the meat, and has only to be reheated in the microwave, said Berry.
"The meat is tenderised for hours so the meals still have the full flavour. They're very traditional products, and we think they'll really suit our customer profile."
The range will be in store from Monday (November 4) and Berry said its performance would be monitored before the offer was expanded in February.
As well as the microwaveable meats, the retailer will also re-launch its breaded poultry range on Monday. Somerfield will unveil nine products, including chicken fillets and kiev. The breaded poultry range will be repackaged in three modern designs, Berry added.
Meanwhile, Somerfield has signed an £8m deal with farmers in the south west of England to supply fresh beef to 130 stores across the region. The range, West Country Beef, will be sourced from small farms throughout the south west, and highlighted to consumers with the new label Local Life.
Sue Cronin-Jones, Somerfield buying director for fresh produce, said: "We are determined to build our relationship with local farmers. By using our experience in promoting regional fresh meats and produce we can deliver the quality and traceability that our customers demand."