CO-op has picked Southampton to be among the first new areas to get same-day grocery deliveries as it plans a major increase in its online services.

The retailer has also announced what it is believed to be the biggest ever rollout of own-brand vegan products by a supermarket.

Customers in Southampton, Bournemouth and Brighton will have access to the same-day delivery service this month. It is currently only available in London and Manchester.

Co-op’s online shop will be available from around 250 stores. Over the coming year, the service will be available in almost 100 towns and cities, served by 650 Co-op stores.

Co-op’s new meat-free products will come via a new brand, GRO. It will be available at up to 6,000 Co-op and independent stores from Wednesday, January 8.

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “At Co-op, we make it easier to get products when you need them and we stay close to our customers changing requirements.

“We have to provide fantastic products and services with strong ethics and a purposeful focus on convenience. Our new vegan range taps into the latest consumer trends and our online services meet the growing appetite for fast home deliveries.”

Research from the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism Report has found the market for vegetarian and began food has topped £1billion for the first time and has more than doubled in the past 20 years, from £452million in 1999.

In 12 months, vegetarian product sales have risen by more than 12 per cent and non-dairy milk alternatives have seen a 14 per cent uplift.

Co-op’s delivery services will include products from its online shop which uses low emissions transport including eco-friendly bikes.

Co-op will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in under 30 minutes. Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities. Deliveroo offers delivery of a range of non-perishable items via its rider network, catering for customers who want a quick, impulse buy rather than scheduled same-day delivery.

The GRO range of more than 35 meat-free products will be available online and at 2,000 Co-op stores and more than 4,000 independent retailers through Co-op’s wholesale operation, NISA. Co-op believes it is the largest ever rollout of own-brand vegan products by a supermarket, taking co-op’s total food and wine vegan range to more than 1,000 products.

The retailer’s beer and cider range will become vegan this year and it already offers almost 120 vegan wines.

Co-op says the GRO range has been developed to take inspiration from some of Britain’s favourite dishes, including such dishes as chilli con carne and sticky toffee pudding.

The range also includes a vegan steak bake, a Kashmiri pizza featuring cauliflower and a mozzarella-looking vegan cheese.