Supermarket giant Coles is aiming to capitalise on the trend towards in-home dining driven by COVID-19 lockdowns, as restaurants, pubs and cafes grapple with social distancing rules.
With many consumers still reluctant to return to eateries due to health concerns, Coles has introduced a homestyle convenience range to fill the gap.
Coles Kitchen, which features 34 ready-to-heat meal products, joins the retailer’s portfolio of meal brands, including Coles Finest and Nature’s Kitchen.
General manager of Own Brand Brad Cook said Coles Kitchen gives customers “real food fast, not fast food”.
“Coles team of Chef’s and Product Developers have trialled, tweaked and tasted every meal to ensure it not only tastes great, but is packed with quality ingredients and nutrition. The majority of the meals have a 3 or 4 health star rating, the soups have up to 3 serves of veg and unnecessary salt has been removed from the Coles Kitchen range to help support a healthier, balanced diet,” he said.
In total, the retailer has introduced 100 meals and sides to its convenience offer, over half of which are Coles branded products with the remainder supplied by brands such as Pitango, Latina Fresh and YouFoodz.
The products include Italian, Asian, Indian and Australian cuisines, with meals starting from $6.50 each. From June 22, roasts will also be on the menu, with the launch of a hot roast beef and a Mexican-style hot roast chicken.
The supermarket giant said its recent acquisition of ready-made meal supplier Jewel Fine Foods, has helped transform its convenience offer with affordable, premium quality meals.
“Our customers have told us they’re looking for quick and easy meals for lunch and dinner that are made from quality ingredients. And since COVID-19, we have seen a growing demand for Australian restaurant-quality food that won’t break the bank and provides healthier alternatives to fast food,” Coles general manager for Fresh Convenience, Dairy and Freezer, Charlotte Rhodes, said.
By November, more than 220 Coles supermarkets will include ‘Food to Go’ convenience departments.