The Co-op supermarket chain is to enable customers to make purchases of £15 or less using "touch and go" technology.
The roll-out, carried out in partnership with Barclaycard, will start with a trial involving 100 stores and, if successful, the retailer will extend the technology to all its outlets in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Contactless technology enables cardholders to hold up their card in front of a terminal to pay for low-priced items without needing to enter their PIN code.
Many UK retailers are already using contactless systems, such as coffee shops Eat, Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero. Other retailers, such as Poundland and Boots, are trialling the technology.
"Contactless payment has huge benefits for our customers," said Mark Hale, director of food IS at the Co-operative Group. "In essence, this innovative technology will mean increased customer choice and faster transaction speed, which will vastly improve the customer experience."