The Co-operative Group has released further details on its new Loved By Us range, which is hitting shelves this month, including chilled ready meals and a switch to 100% British meat and poultry.
Food-to-go products in the range went into stores on Monday, while the society said chilled ready meals would be available from 16 September.
The offer will include 47 new lines and improvements to 80 existing products. New products include macaroni and cheese with pancetta, yakitori chicken noodles, duck in plum sauce and saag paneer.
“These new and improved lines will really encourage our discerning shoppers to reappraise these meal solutions as great, quick alternatives to home-cooked food”
Kate Jones, The Co-op
“Ready meals just get better and more exciting, reflecting the important role they play in our customers’ busy lives,” said The Co-op’s head of product development Kate Jones.
“We believe that these new and improved lines will really encourage our discerning shoppers to reappraise these meal solutions as great, quick alternatives to home-cooked food.”
Alongside the ready meals launch will be an extended and improved range of chilled pies. Pizzas will follow next month.
The society also said it was switching to 100% British meat and poultry for its own-label ranges to demonstrate its commitment to British farmers and its support of the National Farmers’ Union’s Back British Farming Charter.
“All our fresh chicken, pork, beef and turkey is 100% British, and switching to 100% British meat and poultry for these key own-brand product ranges forms a large part of the quality message,” said Co-op Group head of retail Steve Murrells.
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“In a survey commissioned by The Co-op earlier this year, 72% of people said it was very important that the UK has a sustainable farming industry, with 22% saying it was quite important.”
He added: “This will take Co-op own-label products to a new level. We are completely overhauling our own-brand range, and we believe this extensive new product development will encourage customers to re-appraise The Co-operative brand.
“We’ve adopted a ‘back to basics’ approach – re-evaluating key ranges to ensure they offer our customers carefully chosen, great quality, good-value products as part of our mission to provide delicious food conveniently – whatever the time of day.”
The move was welcomed by the NFU. Head of food and farming Phil Hudson said: “The Co-op has already expressed its support to Back British Farming by signing our new online Charter. Today’s news really demonstrates the retailer’s commitment to British farmers in sourcing only British meat and poultry for its key own-brand ranges.”