Sainsbury's Biggar Road Local 4

Source: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts said meal solutions would be a focus of the supermarket’s innovation efforts

Sainsbury’s has partnered with brewer AB InBev to launch new branded beer chillers in the takeaway and chilled aisles of stores.

The new fridges – which are currently stamped with Corona branding – stock a selection of chilled beers and non-alcoholic lines from AB InBev. They have been “strategically placed” in or near to the takeaway and ready meal aisles of an initial 70 Sainsbury’s stores.

Sales of premium lines and ready meals have grown over the past year as budget-conscious consumers swap nights out for jazzed-up nights in. In turn, retailers have been responding by ramping up the selection of meal deals or ‘Dine In for Two’ menus available in stores, as well as stocking more restaurant-inspired brands.

The new chillers – which have been manufactured by Husky Refrigeration – would “inspire customers” to enjoy a gourmet meal paired with cold drink, “even in times of economic restraint” Husky said.

Corona fridges

Source: Husky/Sainsbury’s

The fridges stock a selection of chilled AB InBev products

“Husky is proud to support AB InBev and Sainsbury’s in this creative venture,” said Angela Mundean, Husky Refrigerators managing director.

“Our role in branding, delivering, and installing the C400 Commercial Drinks Chillers ensures that each unit not only stands out for its efficiency and economy but also for enhancing the visibility of the Corona brand. This initiative reflects our commitment to providing exceptional service and contributing to a shopping experience that delights consumers.”

The fridges are the latest in a string of new formats being rolled out or trialled in Sainsbury’s stores as it looks to improve its customer offer and convenience in stores, while at the same time removing costs from the business.

Formats include new self-serve cheese and continental meat counters in larger format Sainsbury’s stores, and the introduction of new dedicated aisles that combine chilled, ambient and frozen free-from products in a single place.

In the unveiling of Sainsbury’s ‘Next Level’ strategy in February, CEO Simon Roberts said meal solutions and convenience would be a focus of its food innovation efforts.

The Grocer understands Sainsbury’s is gearing up to roll out a new meal kits service with SimplyCook across more of its stores over the next couple of months, after relaunching the service at its new Witney ‘future-store’ in November.