Pick n Pay has expanded its frozen food range to stock UCook's new range of ready-made frozen Craft Meals, created by some of South Africa's top chefs. This will be the first time UCook customers can buy their meals from a physical store.
The exclusive retail partnership means customers can now pick up any of the eight restaurant-quality frozen Craft Meals in 15 selected Pick n Pay stores across Cape Town. Based on customer feedback, the partnership will be expanded to more stores nationwide.
Surge in interest for frozen meals
According to John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay, consumer interest in frozen meals continues to grow.
“There was a surge in interest for frozen meals at the start of lockdown when customers couldn’t get their favourite restaurant meal. There continues to be a strong interest as customers seek convenient wholesome meals that aren’t fast food but ones that can be enjoyed at home with no cooking or fuss," he says.
The UCook frozen craft meal range ticks this box of innovation. The new range features eight meals in three different categories: Odyssey, Artisan and Nourish. Each meal has been developed by celebrated chefs and contains fresh, nutritious ingredients. The flavour is locked in through flash freezing, ensuring the freshest meal once heated. They're available in single portions or a serving of two or four.
Created by renowned chefs
range includes authentic, traditional dishes that have been mastered by renowned chefs, and unadulterated by trends. Award-winning executive chef of The Oyster Box, Kevin Joseph, is behind the Durban Lamb Curry and the Vegetable Korma & Saag dishes.
Known for his Italian-inspired dishes having spent time working in restaurants across Italy – and even winning Italy’s version of Masterchef – Lapo Magni has created the Melanzane alla Parmigiana and Lasagne alla Bolognese dish for the range.
range lets customers explore the foodie landscape and discover new flavour combinations and cuisines across regions or traditions.
The range currently includes a Smoked Salmon Mac and Cheese and Pulled Beef Enchilada dish created by Ollie Swart, head chef of notable Western Cape catering company, Annalise Catering.
range is created by Sarah Graham, well-known cookbook author and TV cook, and includes a Vegan Cottage Pie and Chicken Cacciatore.
Partnering with innovative startups
The Craft Meals join Pick n Pay’s growing frozen range which, this year, has expanded to include healthy frozen ready-to-eat meals and snacking options, including new plant-based options.
Bradshaw concludes, “We’ve seen how customers have enjoyed the opportunity to pick up their favourite frozen meals from our stores to enjoy conveniently at home. We are expecting similar feedback for the UCook meals as they make a convenient addition to any freezer for a quick and easy heat-and-eat lunch or dinner solution.
"We are really excited about what we can achieve when we partner with energetic startups, such as UCook. Adding our distribution to their innovation means we are able to give our customers something pretty special."