Gourmet meal kit company Rocket plans to open kiosks in hundreds of c-stores and supermarkets over the next year.

MD Simon Clarke said the Unilever Ventures-backed outfit was negotiating with “six or seven” wholesalers, forecourt operators and multiples as it prepared for a rapid roll-out across the UK.

He said: “We want to be the convenience brand for quality chilled meals. Rocket is an easy model to replicate, we just need to sign up with the right retailers.”

Clarke said P&H McLane, Whistlestop and Spar were among potential clients. Trials with new distributors would start later this year, and a rapid expansion would take place next year.

Clarke said: “We would manage a portion of the fridge space - we can look after the whole “dinner tonight” category in the store, offering fresh ingredients rather than the very poor quality on traditional convenience meals.”

Rocket has already agreed a deal with forecourt operator Total for six trial kiosks at Bonjour forecourts in the London area.

That pilot starts on October 9, and could be extended to up to 1,000 sites, according to a Bonjour spokeswoman.

Clarke said: “We are backed by Unilever Ventures. It is very supportive and sees the bigger picture.”

Rocket this week launched a range of four steam meals priced from £4.90. Four takeaway-style meals, including Indian and Oriental priced from £3.90 launch next week.

n Rocket has painted all 10 of its railway station kiosks pink to mark national Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It will donate £1 from every meal kit sold. A basic dinner for two from Rocket costs from £11.