Source: The Grocer/Alice Leader

It offers breakfast and lunchtime options

AF Blakemore is seeking independent Spar retailers to adopt a new food-to-go and self-serve coffee concept under its Philpotts brand.

The food-to-go innovation offers consumers breakfast and lunchtime options, including sourdough rolls, baguettes, and salad boxes, which are freshly prepared behind the counter.

There are also sweet treats for those “looking to indulge”, such as doughnuts, tarts and cookies, as well as heat-to-eat pasties, sausage rolls and bakes.

Hot food is available as well, including bacon, beans and eggs for breakfast, which switches to a lunch focus later in the day, featuring potato wedges, chicken strips and jacket potatoes.

The Spar wholesaler said it had created the Philpotts food-to-go concept in a modular format to make it more adaptable and accessible for retailers.

A ‘grab & go’ version has also been developed, which displays sandwiches on a fixture so shoppers can help themselves, to cater to stores operating in smaller spaces.

It marks the first time independent retailers have been offered access to the Philpotts brand, since AF Blakemore bought the sandwich chain in February 2019, following a rollout in its company-owned estate.

Last year, it extended its Brindleyplace store in Birmingham to incorporate a Philpotts concession, including hot and cold sandwiches, salads and soups.

It has since evolved the offer, including a new range, branding, and counter design, which was showcased at the Spar Retail Show 2024 in Telford last week. This version made its debut at its Llandaff store, near Cardiff, last month. 

“The silver bullet with food to go is to create an innovative and exciting range which can be flexed up and down depending on consumer demographic and delivered using the most effective labour model,” said AF Blakemore retail sales director Louis Drake.

“We also know many of you have invested into your own local food to go brands, so rather than be excluded, you can take the complete proposition in a white label format, meaning you can use the brand that you’ve developed locally which your customers know and trust.”

Under the Philpotts brand, AF Blakemore has also created a self-serve coffee machine as it looks to compete against industry leaders, offering retailers up to 50% margin.

Hot drinks include flat white, cappuccino and mocha, which can be tailored to shopper needs with alternative milks and syrups. There were also fruit teas on offer to help create a “point of difference”, the business said.

“Coffee has become a staple of convenience retailing,” added Drake. “Consumers aren’t surprised that you sell coffee, they’re shocked if you don’t. We’ve developed Philpotts coffee to provide customers with a great-tasting product at a retail price lower than brand leaders, earning you more cash profit.”