Chilled category product manager Sarah Lewis says chilled ethnic ready meals are growing at 214% year-on-year within the group. "This figure excludes our new meals solution range of 14 curries, 11 oriental meals, plus separate rice and vegetable dishes, and four Indian and four oriental bagged meals which we introduced in February and are gradually rolling out to stores. "All components are separate for pick and mix, and the range is merchandised in its own chiller cabinet, front of store, along with PoS material to capture impulse sales. There are 44 items in the range, and the majority of stores are taking 42. Our bestsellers are the tikka and korma Indian bagged meal for two at £5.99 for 1330g, and the battered sweet and sour chicken ready meal. We are now looking at bringing in accompaniments such as ethnic breads." In the freezer cabinet, the Co-op outperforms the market with sales of international meals up 28% says frozen category marketing manager Jonathan Buckley. "Our authentic own label range has been cut back to two because mainstream brands such as Sharwood's curries and Rice Bowls, Patak's Snack Bowls and RVP Foods' Orient Express range perform the best in stores where freezer space is limited. We also do Birds Eye Wall's Enjoy, and Orient Express stir fry bags. Bestsellers are Sharwood's Rice Bowls and Orient Express chicken chow mein. "We also do hand-held snacks such as Patak's filled naans, and Discovery tortilla wraps and overtrade in them because they are a distress purchase." In cook-in sauces, head of category for grocery edibles Stuart May says that although Indian sauces is the biggest section, most growth is coming from Tex-Mex, Caribbean and Thai sauces. "We have done well with the Discovery and Old El Paso brands and expanded this area to 40 products, and are looking to move into own label. Our recent introduction of Thai green curry was our first step into own label sauces, and we are about to expand this with satay, lemon & ginger and stir-fry sauces." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}