Supermarket chain sacrifices fish counters for ready-to-eat products

Published on
January 10, 2020

U.K. retailer Asda plans to ditch many of its in-store fish and meat counters to make way for the further roll-out of its ready-to-eat “Food for Now” concept.

Through this expansion, the Walmart-owned chain is aiming to meet the changing needs of its customers, it said in a press release.

The counters will transition from February 2020 as part of a new round of “test and learn” trials. Asda said that this will include new and established in-store brand partnerships, a greater choice of cuisines to suit modern lifestyles, and an overall expansion of its Food for Now offer.

Asda trialed a number of alternatives to traditional fish and meat counters across 13 stores last year, where customers were given the chance to try a variety of new, ready to take away and eat ranges, including hot chicken and pie offers, along with meals from its Sushi Daily concession.

A further 35 store trials are planned in the first quarter of this year, with the aim of reaching 150 by the end of 2020.

“The success of our counters trials last year shows there is a demand for an offer which is better aligned with our customers’ lifestyles. The popularity of our sushi concessions and international cuisine, along with ‘Food for Now’ options shows there has been a shift in customer behavior and there is a need to provide a greater choice in our stores,” Asda Senior Manager of Food for Now Elizabeth Ruddiman said. “The trials were well-received by both colleagues and customers in 2019 and will be used to inform our rolling program of counter innovation from February onwards. We will be trialing a number of exciting options, which will see Asda partner with new and innovative brands, as well as popular favorites, to provide a better experience for our customers."

In addition to the trials, Asda’s Edinburgh Jewel store has introduced a food court-style dining experience, giving customers the opportunity to order from Sushi Daily and Subway concessions and to purchase hot pizzas from the Asda Kitchen to either eat in-store or takeaway.

In 2019, the retailer also launched a partnership with online food order and delivery service Just Eat. This is now in place across 50 stores. 

Asda said that there will be no loss of choice across its fresh fish and meat products, with its pre-packed options becoming more and more popular with customers.

Photo courtesy of TreasureGalore/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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