Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Merril Boulton: editor

Great to see that Shell is raising the bar on forecourt food with its launch of the Jamie Oliver deli by Shell range. The forecourt sector has been crying out for some 'properly decent' food on the go, for some time.

With the increasingly sophisticated, modern forecourts and services that have been developed around the country, shouldn't they start to have a food on the go range to match?

Yes, the army of good old sandwiches and sausage rolls which are sold in huge quantities have served the sector well for many years and will continue to do so. And brands such as Greggs and Subway have certainly attracted huge interest and filled a big gap, particularly in providing tailor-made baguettes on the go. It's all helped to generate breakfast and lunchtime traffic, and in combination with the great coffee offers, encourage customers to see forecourts as a respectable destination to grab some food.

But with brands such as EAT and Pret A Manger making such a big impression on the high street, isn't it time to add a new dimension to what a forecourt can offer its customers?

There's so much talk about health and tackling obesity, not to mention the growth in various eating trends and fads, the industry needs to get involved before customers decide they're no longer being properly served on the forecourt.

I'm on the road a lot of the time, and am one of those types who will wait until I see something like an M&S in order to stop and buy a few choice items. I don't want loads of bread and pastry when I'm sitting down for hours in traffic jams or even in the office. I want something tasty and nutritious, and certainly not tasteless cold pasta salad drowning in mayo!

So full marks to Shell for coming up with something that will hopefully lead the whole industry forward. All the considerations about food provenance and recyclable packaging also reassures customers that it ticks all the boxes. Besides all that, what I've tried so far tastes really good (to me at least!), with some great format options. I'll certainly be seeking it out as I plan to 'test' a good bit of the range. Stand by Shell sites!

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