Ben Simons, owner of Londis Lechlade in the Cotswolds, is enjoying strong sales from his hot food range, which includes filled baguettes, pasties and paninis.

He says: “Our hot food-to-go does really well for us and we have two stands at the front of the store; one for baguettes and one for pasties and sausage rolls. We try and keep all the to-go items together and we are looking to move our coffee machine so that it is closer to this area.

“Hot food and drinks are certainly categories that have grown in recent years as people want quick and convenient meals, especially in the winter. It’s strange to think that a few years ago we didn’t do ready meals and now they are one of the biggest categories in the store!

“As well as offering the standard Discover The Choice lines from Booker, we also have our own offer; The Cotswold Food Company. It’s something that we’ve always done and we have our loyalists that come in because it’s local.

”We offer a mix of fresh meats and other packaged goods. I even have some teenage customers that will only eat The Cotswold Food sausages so I think it will always be something that we will keep in the store. We can also deliver the items in our dedicated van, which is especially useful for our older customers.”

Star performers: ”One of our main points of difference is our chilled range, which sets us apart from the competition. Our Cook frozen meals are another great seller, as you have to travel a considerable distance to find someone else stocking the product.”

Successful NPD: “We’ve just taken on a new range from Country Choice. It’s called Savour It and it’s been really good because we’ve always wanted to offer pannis and wraps but didn’t want the hassle of having a big kitchen area.”

Country Choice unveiled Savour It, its new bake-in-the-pack range of ready made paninis and wraps, last month.

The line-up consists of four varieties of panini and two wraps; all ready-assembled and individually packaged in ovenable film. Retailers can bake the products in the pack from frozen in 25 minutes and place them in a hot display for up to two hours.

The four panini varieties comprise: sausage (216g); bacon (186g); four cheese & red onion (197g ); and ham & cheese.

The wraps range comprises: meatball melt (183g) featuring pork meatballs; and chicken fajita (165g).

The Savour It paninis and wraps are suitable for breakfast and lunch occasions and are sold to retailers in cases of 24.