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Germany: Lidl brings premium ready meals to the refrigerated shelf

Discount Retail Chain Lidl Germany (owner of Schwarz Group) has presented itself as a quick lunch retailer with unhealthy fast food and cheap salads. That should change now with a new own private label brand, under which higher quality meals are offered. The discounter even clears a corner in the refrigerated shelf for convenience for this purpose, following Aldi.

The vast majority of people have now noticed that storming of outdoor restaurants after the relaxation of the Corona requirements is not a really sustainable solution for not constantly cooking at home. Because sitting around in front of restaurants for a full day, as nice as it may be, is in the long run hard on your wallet.

And because we all recently had to learn to jump over our own shadows, even Lidl has joined this and now offers premium ready-made meals from the refrigerated shelf. The discounter, which has so far excelled in keeping its customers warm inside half a chicken in the bread roll jail, selling "street food" in plastic tubes and accepting ready-made food with additives and flavor enhancers, seems to be real food as a market niche to have discovered for himself.

So now there is the "Premium Menu Pasta with Chicken and fruity Tomato Sauce", "Pizza Rettangolare Mozzarella e Pomodrorini", the "Premium Salad Chicken Bowl with Caesar Dressing" and "Chicken Skewers with Hoisin Sauce" on the refrigerated shelf.

In some stores, these or similar dishes have been available for sale since last year, with the rather simple branding "Feine Kost". It seems to have worked so well that Lidl is now venturing into a more professional appearance and using its own convenience brand "Chef Select" for it. Over the past few weeks, “Feine Kost” has gradually become “Chef Select Feine Küche”, complete with its own private label logo in black and gold. In addition, the discounter is giving its brand expansion (currently) its own private booth in the refrigerated shelves in some stores, in modernized stores right at the front in the convenience counter and highlighted with black bezels that announce an offer that should be “simply delicious”.

In fact, the fine-dining meals look relatively presentable by discounted standards. There is the “seafood menu spaghetti with prawns”, fresh salad bowls, hummus in different variations (with pesto or falafel), various dips (Mediterranean style, date & curry, guacamole), yellow curry with chicken, vegetables and coconut milk, gnocchi Blue cheese (“spicy with spinach”), poke bowls with mango and chilli dressing and most of it actually makes an edible impression.

The matching wooden cutlery must be purchased for 10 cents (US$0.12). And that the antipasta salads, the pickled olives and the antipasti cream may come from the regular offer and may just have been nicely packaged.

The prices for the dishes are higher than regular customers for discount conditions: the inside is otherwise used the pasta menus cost between 2.99 and 3.49 euros (US$ 3.40 - 4.20), the square pizza 3.99 euros (US$4.80), and salad bowls come for 2.99 euros (US$3.60) through the till. Compared to many other fresh lunch options, this is still rather cheap. No gap filling for the premium salad In the weekly brochure, Lidl is for the first time advertising its new convenience competence (“For the first time at Lidl”), but without saying whether it will be a cross-branch or permanent offer.

In the weekly flyer, Lidl is for the first time advertising its new convenience competence (“For the first time at Lidl”), but without saying whether it will be a cross-store or permanent offer.

The dishes on offer seem to change at least according to my previous observation. And what is bought away leaves very uncharacteristically large gaps in the refrigerated shelves, which do not seem to be filled up until the next week.

Whether Lidl will enjoy it for a long time can certainly be doubted, especially if the space could alternatively also be used for the weekly, massively advertised promotional product. As an excursion into the world of quick lunches, which afterwards does not lie like a stone in the stomach, Chef Select Feine Küche has turned out quite well.

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