Alliance Boots is in discussions with food manufacturer Musgrave, supplier to Budgens, about stocking its food products in stores.

It emerged on Tuesday that the health and beauty retailer and pharmaceutical giant is merging with US pharmacy chain Walgreens, which is set to buy 45% of Alliance Boots for $6.7bn (£4.3bn).

Retail Week revealed last month that Boots is aiming to launch a food range, offering evening meals later this year.

According to the Evening Standard Musgrave confirmed the discussions had taken place with Alliance Boots. Musgrave also supplies Londis in the UK.

Boots ended its partnership with Waitrose to sell each other’s products in one another’s stores this year after the pilot failed to meet both the retailers’ expectations.

The health and beauty retailer declined to comment but it is understood Boots has been in talks with several parties on the subject.