Gourmet meal kit company Rocket has announced a big expansion, including supply deals with Somerfield and the Co-operative Group.
The Unilever Ventures backed company has also signed up with c-store chain Whistlestop and Wine Cellar, and is rolling out concessions in Boots and Total’s Bonjour forecourt stores.
MD Simon Clarke said Rocket prepared meal solutions range would be going into six Co-op stores in affluent market towns in the south-east of England in place of a Co-op luxury own label on fresh ready meals.
Rocket’s distribution is currently focused on London and the south-east of England. But Clarke said the company was in discussion with the Co-op about supplying its upmarket
stores in Manchester and Leeds. Its prepared meal solutions also went on trial in two Somerfield Market Fresh stores this week. Clarke said he was keen to expand distribution with Somerfield, particularly on its forecourts. Meanwhile, two London branches of Whistlestop have introduced the range, with 28 further sites preparing to come on stream.
There are plans to roll out to around 40 Wine Cellar stores, once the range has been proved in a trial in one London outlet.
Trials are also taking place at four Boots stores in London and another with Total on its Bonjour forecourts could be expanded to 50 sites.
Clarke predicted there would be hundreds of outlets nationwide selling the Rocket range by the end of the calendar year.
He said: “It’s a growing business and it’s all coming at us. We will expand anywhere a Rocket consumer is.”
Rocket launched in 2001, selling meals kits from kiosks in five London rail stations.
Anne Bruce