The Co-operative Food is hoping to recruit 1,000 new employees as part of plans to better serve the growing number of top-up shoppers.

By boosting staff numbers at peak times it hopes to better meet the needs of shoppers who are increasingly moving away from the big weekly shop and buying little and often.

In a new report, the Co-op found that over half of consumers (52%) no longer do a big shop each week as they choose to shop little and often.

The recruitment drive includes customer team members, team leaders and store managers, including many part-time positions of 16 hours or less a week.

Steve Murrells, retail chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said: “We are making significant strides towards our ambition of becoming the UK’s leading convenience retailer.

“The modern busy lifestyle is leading to more consumers adopting a grazing mentality which sees them shop in a little and often way each week.

“These ‘grazers’ are leading a major shift in shopping habits which marks a return to the way people used to shop before the advent of larger supermarkets and we are meeting these shopping needs by opening more smaller stores and ensuring we have stores staffed at peak times.”

The Co-op is currenly undertaking a major programme of convenience store transformation and acquisition. Last month it announced a £125m investment in lowering the price of everyday essentials.