By Calum Morrison
Sainsbury’s launch of fast food sandwich store Fresh Kitchen marks the supermarket chain’s initial move into a potentially lucrative new sector.
The store, which sells products ranging from sandwiches to hot food and curries, opened on Fleet Street in London last Thursday, joining similar food outlets on the high street such as major chains Starbucks, Pret a Manger and Eat.
Its move, possibly the first of many, has sparked fears amongst experts who suggest that small, family-owned businesses and independent cafes may not be able to compete with Sainsbury’s low prices for quality goods.
Fresh Kitchen has opened at a time of optimism for the business though, following the recent opening of a number of new stores and a successful Christmas period which marked it as the only top four grocer to increase its market share.
Preparations towards the opening were kept strictly under wraps with the windows and signs covered up until the last moment and the company declining to discuss the store and its future plans.
In order to establish it as a real sandwich industry venture, however, experts have said that Sainsbury’s would require hundreds, or potentially 1,000, more stores.
Jonathan Banks, a retail analyst for Jonathan Banks Associates, told Retail Gazette: “Sainsbury’s ought to be able to offer major competition in the area simply because of its supply chain’s dominance.
“The company will capture people’s loyalty by offering quality food at the best price in the area.”