Boots The Chemists is playing the grocers at their own game, with a food offer that could take a bite out of the lunchtime sandwiches market.
The health and beauty giant is battling back with a bolstered range, including exclusive drinks and snacks.
Lunchtime food product manager Martin Grieve said Boots has recognised that lunchtime is integral to the whole business proposition. 'The focus is on what we can do to develop a more comprehensive offer,' he said.
'The key competition in sandwiches remains Marks & Spencer, but also WHSmith and Superdrug, as well as the supermarkets, which are starting to get more of a high street presence.'
Forty new proprietary and own-brand lines have been added to the lunchtime mix, creating 73,000 meal combinations rather than 38,000.
The own-brand sandwich offer has been simplified to two lines - Menu and Shapers - rather than three. New Shapers snacks have been developed and exclusive deals struck with manufacturers including Cadbury's.
Evolution analyst Nick Bubb said the retailer's lunchtime range had got 'a bit tired' and 'like many things at Boots, pretty dull and unexciting.
'Boots stores are well placed and should maximise the impact of lunchtime traffic with more attractive ranges and better fixtures,' said Bubb.