Helen Gregory
Leapingsalmon ­ the delivered meal solutions firm ­ and Unilever Bestfoods are launching an assault on the capital's commuters by opening chilled ready meal kit kiosks.
The two firms are targeting busy workers at offices and railway stations in London and both have plans to extend the concept to other cities around the country.
Leapingsalmon has just opened its first kiosks, in Victoria station and Broadgate Circle in the City, and plans to introduce more in the capital before branching out in the UK. Founder and md James Marshall said: "We will move forward aggressively."
Until now, the firm has only sold its restaurant quality meal kits to customers ordering over the web and by telephone. Marshall said the kiosks were popular with commuters and City staff. "We offer more or less the same menu as the web site at Victoria, and a slightly smaller one at Broadgate Circus, and have fridges to keep the food cold."
Unilever Bestfoods has opened Rocket outlets for its branded ready meals in kit form at Liverpool Street and Wimbledon stations as well as in two office blocks ­ at UBS Warburg and Goldman Sachs. Its first kiosk was installed at Waterloo station last year.
John Coombs, managing director of Unilever Ventures, said it planned to continue rolling out the format at railway stations and offices.
"The concept is working ­ people like the proposition, speed and quality. We're considering big cities with significant commuting times such as Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Paris, Rotterdam and Hamburg."
Leapingsalmon's meal kits cook in 30 minutes and cost about £15 for two, while Unilever's meals are ready in 10 minutes and cost £11-£12 for two.
Coombs added: "Everyone has spotted the same consumer with the same need and they'll want more of this in the future."

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