Source: SimplyCook

The brand was selected for Tesco’s incubator earlier in the year

SimplyCook has signed a major deal with Tesco Express, The Grocer has learned.

The meal kit pioneer, revealed as one of Tesco’s 2019 incubator brands in the summer, will roll out four recipe kits (Chicken Makhani, Cajun Jambalaya, Katsu Curry and Vietnamese Pork) into 300 Tesco Express stores from 11 November (rsp: £2.50).

The brand is already stocked by Asda, Waitrose and Co-op after first launching into ­grocery in April 2018 in partnership with Sainsbury’s.

But it will now stop working with Sainsbury’s to prioritise Tesco, its MD Sam Tierney told The Grocer.

The Express store format would be “ideal” to reach a new set of customers, he added.

“A lot of our customers don’t want to commit to a subscription so the retail offering provides a way for them to just buy our products on impulse.”

Tesco uses its incubator scheme to fund and mentor growing brands, but being picked does not guarantee listings.

“What we are trying to do with retail is solve the ‘what’s for dinner?’ question. We are targeting the fast-growing, convenience ‘food-for-tonight’ shopper mission, which is why we are super excited,” Tierney added, stressing there were no plans to ditch online subscriptions.

It follows a move by rival HelloFresh, which launched meal kits into Sainsbury’s in 2017 - though they do not appear to be available in the retailer any more.

Waitrose and Morrisons have also previously launched their own meal kits. although it hasn’t always worked out: Waitrose was forced to suspend its recipe box delivery service, Cook Well, in 2019 after one of its suppliers collapsed.