Waitrose Merchant counter web

Merchant Gourmet’s pop-up store in Waitrose’s Salisbury branch

Waitrose has teamed up with Merchant Gourmet for a pop-up healthy eating counter at its Salisbury store.

The Grain & Graze counter, which opened last week, aims to promote healthy eating by offering on-the-go style breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. These include super seed granola, beluga lentil and beetroot salad, smoky Spanish grains and chorizo paella, and quinoa power balls. Step-by-step recipe cards will also be available to give customers the opportunity to create healthy dishes at home.

This is the first time pulses, grains, seeds and nut brand Merchant Gourmet has entered into a partnership with an external brand to serve customers outside of its London store.

Grain & Graze will open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am-7pm, and 9am-4pm each Sunday for “a limited time.”

It will also be working with the England hockey team’s performance nutritionists to produce a range of menus and recipes suitable for athletes who require the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fibres and fats to train to the best of their ability.

England hockey captain and Merchant Gourmet brand ambassador Alex Danson will be marking the official opening at a launch event tomorrow, and will discuss why it is vital to fuel bodies with the right ingredients, and why nutritious foods do not have to sacrifice taste. Chef and author Alex Mackay will also be attending to discuss why grains and pulses should be a staple ingredient.

“The Grain & Graze pop-up gives us an ideal opportunity to gauge customers’ appetite for this cuisine in our foodservice operations,” said Waitrose director of foodservice Simon Burdess. “Balancing the desire for a treat and eating something healthy has traditionally been a challenge for us, so finding a solution is at the top of our aspirations when it comes to new product development.”

Merchant Gourmet group commercial director Clive Moxham added: “We’ve been told time and time again that one of the biggest struggles for busy workers and families on the go is trying to stay healthy whilst out and about. Fast food is always an option… but when we want to fuel our bodies quickly with nutritious ingredients and minimal fuss, what’s the option? We’re incredibly excited to bring this ethos to Salisbury. This brand new venture with Waitrose is such a natural fit and we can’t wait to see how customers react.”