Pret A Manger and EAT are facing the prospect of a powerful new competitor on the high street after Sainsbury’s launched a standalone takeaway food shop called Fresh Kitchen.

The concept store on Fleet Street, London, which opened on 13 January, sells a range of sandwiches, pastries, wraps, soups, curries, drinks, hot meals and salads to take away. There is no seating at the store and Sainsbury’s branding is kept to a minimum, with the shop instead highlighting the fact that products are freshly prepared on-site.

Publicising the launch of the store through Twitter, Sainsbury’s remained tight-lipped on whether the brand would be rolled out nationally or would appear in its supermarkets, although it did say "watch this space".

In general, prices at the new store were lower than other sandwich retailers, with a latte retailing for £1.85 and sandwich wedges starting at £1.29.

Kiti Soininen, senior food analyst at research company Mintel, said the concept could be expanded rapidly, given the scale and financial resources Sainsbury’s has at its disposal. "If the company does go on to build this into a larger chain, it would heat up the competition in the lunchtime market. The store focuses strongly on the freshness of its food as its selling point an approach seen at leading sandwich chains like Pret A Manger and EAT. With Fresh Kitchen sandwiches and baguettes priced at around the £3 mark, with breakfast variants at lower price points, it looks to aim to challenge these established chains."