Tesco launches SimplyCook meal kits in Express stores

Date : 06 April 2021

Nick Gladding

Senior Retail Analyst

Tesco and recipe box provider Simply Cook have joined forces to launch a meal kit offer in the retailer’s Express stores, according to The Grocer.

Let’s Cook bay introduced

The initiative from Tesco’s Incubator programme will see a ‘Let’s Cook’ bay introduced to chiller cabinets that invites shoppers to create a meal for two for £6 by choosing a protein, vegetable, carbohydrate and a SimplyCook ingredients kit. This kit contains three pots containing herbs, spices, stock or marinade and will enable shoppers to create “the restaurant-inspired meals that are missing in lockdown, using fresh and healthy ingredients”, according to the brand.

Recipe box sector booms

The move by Tesco is further evidence of the rapid development of the meal kit sector which has boomed during the lockdown. Global revenues at Hello Fresh for instance more than doubled in 2020 as it delivered more than 600 million meals to customers in 14 countries. As the foodservice sector prepares to reopen, meal kit operators are keen to innovate to consolidate their gains and partnering with retailers and providing options to buy meal kits in store is a key way to achieve this.

Flexibility benefits

Tesco has previously trialled pre-packaged meal kits in some stores in 2017 with Samworth Brothers but experienced challenges in creating an efficient production line and extending the shelf of the product. Keeping the ingredients separate will provide more flexibility and make the concept more practical for the convenience channel. The initiative should also complement Tesco’s long running Food Love Stories campaign.

Shift in Simply Cook business model following Nestlé acquisition

Tesco’s new partnership follows Nestlé’s acquisition in February of Simply Cook in February, and its purchase of a majority stake in Mindful Chef for an undisclosed sum last November.

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