Last year as she took over the reins as Shell’s UK retail general manager, Bernie Williamson said she was on a mission to improve the quality perception of food on the forecourt. She’s a woman of her word roll forward to 2019 and the new Jamie Oliver deli by Shell range has just rolled out across more than 500 Shell forecourts.

It completely replaces the previous Shell offer by providing a range of over 80 products including sandwiches, wraps, pastries and snacks, all created with a signature Jamie Oliver twist. It includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, and packaging with easy-to-read traffic light information. The range will be continuously improved and developed according to customer feedback.

"A recent IPSOS MORI survey said 56% of motorists wanted a wider choice of good food on the go, and also healthier choices. We’ve been listening to that and to our customers over the past year, and are really proud to launch this new range," stresses Williamson."The idea of the range is that it’s not just about adding a salad, it’s about real choice," she explained. "Fifty per cent of the range is new, but we kept some of the classics, like the BLT, which has been reformulated. We’ve also kept things like the sausage roll now a hog roll, with all-butter pastry, sprinklings of crackling on top, and is a really generous portion.

"On the front of the packaging we’re very clear that there are only two messages one about the product itself, the other is the nutritional value. And 60% of the range, doesn’t have any (less healthy) red labelling on it. We’ve doubled the amount of snack pots and healthy salads. There’s 70% more fruit and veg in the whole range, which equates to 1.2m extra portions of fruit and veg in a year." Her aim is to bring real choice for the consumer, and a real opportunity to choose not just food on the go, but good food on the go! But even that’s not enough, according to Williamson.

"Our customers want more from us. They don’t just want the sandwich or the treat they pick up, they want to know where it’s come from, and what’s happening to the packaging after they’ve used it. In terms of where it has come from we’ve focused on the provenance of the ingredients, so British meat wherever possible except where the provenance of a particular product is important for authenticity. We have RSPCA-approved bacon and pork; higher-welfare chicken; wild fish is MSC-approved fish; tuna is line or pole-caught; and wherever possible we’re using British fruit and vegetables (Red Tractor); and if not it conforms to the global GAP on (Global Good Agricultural Practices) certification. The packaging is made of recycled product.

"We’ve looked at this from a holistic point of view from provenance of product, packaging, and the actual experience of the customer eating the product as well. I feel that we’ve been on a really good journey here and are really innovating and pushing forward in many ways.

"And in terms of leading the field, we’ve done some research as to where we are today with this launch, and we will be best in class as at today."

Much has also been achieved in lowering the company’s carbon footprint, with carrier bags to be 100% compostable, made from starch; a reduction in cleaning fluid bottles by 96% through the use of concentrates; recyclable uniforms; all co-owned sites powered by renewable energy; and energy reduction trials. "But it’s not just about what we use and consume on the service stations, it’s how we build the service stations. A KDRB today would use half the amount of carbon footprint than it did 10 years ago," explains Williamson. She is also very proud of the company’s ’Go Home Well’ narrative, embracing the cultural rather than the ’tick-box’ aspects of HSSE, which she says is helping to keep people safe.

Retailers at Shell’s annual event also heard about another significant development a new loyalty programme which launches in the spring. "Our new programme is far more modern, far more instant, and we will be linking the Jamie Oliver deli by Shell products into the loyalty programme," explains Williamson.

"Customers will able to experience the new food along with rewards for coming back to Shell. We will have a scheme that is much more digitally enhanced, and also more instant (no more waiting). There will be plenty of surprises and delights for customers. We will be able to link our fuel and in-store purchases for rewards."

Also promised this year is more excitement around V-Power, Shell’s market-leading premium fuel (58% share, according to Kantar data). There will be further activations along the lines of last year’s Mission Impossible 6 promotion, which achieved the company’s highest penetration of V-Power, with nearly 300,000 customers entering the competition to win ’money-can’t-buy’ prizes.

Williamson also stressed her commitment to the dealer sector 45% of the company’s 1,000-plus sites are dealer-owned. "We work very closely in collaboration with all the dealers and we have some very strong customer offerings. Shell when it looks for a service station, is looking for a whole host of parameters, and not every service station is suitable for what we want to do in Shell. We’re very proud to have added 25 new-to-Shell dealers in 2018," she confirms. "To grow by that amount is strong and we want to continue growing."