With its convenience-led store estate, The Co-op is focused on little and often, but its seasonal strategy is to offer products that meet as many shopper needs as possible, while upping the quality where it can. Its party food range (rsp: £2.50-£3.99) has all been moved under the standard-tier Loved By Us brand, and both savoury and sweet options are included in a 3-for-2 deal - but it still has room for products targeting the posher foodie shopper, like the brightly coloured Steamed Dim Sum Selection, elegant-looking Thai Red Chicken Steamed Buns, and brownie-esque Belgian Hot Chocolate Melting Muffins. The retailer’s small range means everything has to be on trend, which is why everything seems to have Prosecco in it. There’s the Wensleydale with Raspberries & Co-op Prosecco - more of a creamy dessert than a cheese - a Prawn Cocktail with Prosecco Verrines, and Chocolate & Prosecco Bombes. There’s also the garish looking but tasty Blingleberry Juice, a mixture of red and white grape juices with mulled spices and glitter, which can be mixed with Italian fizz for a festive spin on a Mimosa.
At the time of the launch, The Co-op turkeys weren’t ready to try, but they are is also offering a Festive Chicken with a bacon lattice topping - and it’s a cook-in-the-bag job - helping stave off the chance of a nightmare Boxing Day campylobacter infection. Trimmings include two new stuffings, both made with a generous meat content, while those who pfff at poultry could serve up the Whole Side of Salmon with Oranges and Cranberries - a surprising but pleasant flavour combination.
Verdict: Covers the bases while capturing the imagination of convenience shoppers on a whim.
Star product: Sausages with Honey and Mustard Glaze and Popping Crackling - a fun talking point, these DIY snacks covered in (optional) crunchy crackling bits are based on staff member’s family Anna Marsh’s recipe.