In April, The Grocer featured a news story about Bisto Express ambient ready meals a range already in petrol forecourts and cash and carries that was seeking further retail listngs. And as this week’s issue shows, it’s a bit of a theme. Ambient is having a renaissance.

Booker has launched a sandwich with a 14-day shelf life, Mars and Heinz have unveiled new ambient ready meals and Organix has launched a range of toddler meals that can last outside the chiller for up to a year.

Ambient ticks several boxes long shelf-life, low cost, convenience… it can even play the green card. But the key to its future success will be good marketing, sleight of hand and technology something evident from our visit to Leatherhead Food Research, which reveals that suppliers increasingly want clean labels.

What’s remarkable is that ambient ready meals, while boasting an extended shelf life, no longer contain the long list of unpronounceable chemicals that once typified the category. And that will go a long way towards reshaping consumer perceptions about the ambient fixture.