UK firm Merchant Gourmet is adding products to its "meals in minutes" range of ready-to-eat pouches.

The speciality foods company is adding three product lines under the Merchant Gourmet banner: Spelt and SunBlush pouches; ready-to-eat Spelt; and a Grains, red rice and Quinoa mix.

Sanjay Davda, head of retail, said the group decided to expand its product offering in response to strong growth of ready to eat lines, with sales up 240% year on year. " The significant sales growth on key ready to eat pouches has contributed to the confidence in buyers that there is demand for alternative, convenient and healthy side of plate meal solutions in the ambient aisle," he said.

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After the continued success of their ready to eat lentils and grains pouches, Merchant Gourmet have launched three new lines, a new Spelt and SunBlush® pouch in their popular "meals in minutes" range, a ready to eat Spelt and a Grains, red rice and Quinoa mix under the Merchant Gourmet banner.

Speaking about the decision to launch the products in greater detail, Sanjay Davda Head of Retail said:

"The decision to extend our ready to eat range was born out of its continued success within the marketplace. We have been experiencing 240% YOY growth across our entire ready to eat lines and we believe that these new editions will prove to be equally successful. This is the first time that we have introduced Spelt and Freekeh products into supermarkets, but after extensive research and sampling, we are confident that it will be popular addition. The significant sales growth on key ready to eat pouches has contributed to the confidence in buyers that there is demand for alternative, convenient and healthy side of plate meal solutions in the ambient aisle. There is definitely an acknowledgement from retailers also about the opportunity that exists within this category hence additional space that supermarkets are looking to dedicate to these products."

The main ingredient of spelt in two of the pouches has been rising in popularity in recent times as has Freekeh which is a key ingredient in the grains mix. With the increased interest in the health benefits of pulses and grains thanks to cooking shows such as Ottolenghi, Davda believes that the pouches will make these harder to cook and source grains more accessible to the consumer:

"The great thing about these ingredients is that they really capitalise on the growing popularity of ancient grains. We saw it with Quinoa and I believe we will see the same type of uplift with these new pouches. By making grains such as Spelt and Freekeh more convenient and easier to use, we believe that we will attract a new customer base, which may not have the time or knowledge to prepare a meal with the dried grains from scratch. The range extension offers a convenient offer, which can be eaten directly out of the pouch or combined with other ingredients to make a whole, quick and tasty meal. "

Original source: Merchant Gourmet