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Chilled and Frozen Ready Meals - UK - May 2010

  • Expected to reach £2.7 billion in 2010, the ready meals market has grown by just 7% since 2005. The market contracted in 2008 as a result of consumer cut backs, but has bounced back strongly since, suggesting that the six million users switching to more cooking have not been lost for good.
  • Ready meals with larger portions stand to attract nearly six million adults who buy ready meals but see the portions as often too small.
  • Nearly five million people eat chilled ready meals from just one cuisine, such as Indian, Italian or Chinese. Cross-promoting dishes across cuisines has potential to support incremental sales growth among this group.
  • Transparent packaging can help brands win over the nearly seven million ready meal buyers who prefer see-through packaging to know what they're buying.
  • Nearly ten million people who do not buy ready meals see them as less tasty than home-made food. Sampling or taste tests could unlock this pool of demand for brands confident in their quality.
  • Slow-cooked meats or stews could forge a place for ready meals on the menu of the 6.5m adults who do not eat them, and see cooking from scratch as being often as quick as preparing a ready meal.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Ready meals in a time-hungry time
              • Our time is worth it
                • Forging associations between the quick and slow
                  • Built-in trials for ready meals
                    • The rise of trials
                      • Relevance is key
                      • Market in Brief

                        • Growth to £3.1 billion forecast
                          • Home cooking and frozen food gain
                            • Demographic trends to favour ready meals
                              • Ready meals under pressure from restaurants and home cooking
                                • Private label dominates ready meals launches
                                  • Italian strong in recession, Chinese and Indian meals flagging
                                    • M&S stays top in chilled, Heinz takes the lead in frozen
                                      • Two in five do not eat ready meals
                                        • Half the nation eats premium ready meals
                                          • Convenience still key driver, flavour and health core barriers
                                          • Internal Market Environment

                                            • Key points
                                              • Interest in cooking strong
                                                  • Figure 1: Attitudes towards cooking, 2005-09
                                                  • Figure 2: Changes to cooking and eating in the recession, excess of eating in over cooking more, by age and socio-economic group, December 2009
                                                • Family dinners
                                                  • Frozen food gains acceptance
                                                      • Figure 3: Agreement that “Frozen foods are as good for you as fresh foods”, 2005-09
                                                    • Treats gain, health loses in recession
                                                        • Figure 4: Attitudes towards fats and treat foods, 2005-09
                                                    • Broader Market Environment

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • One in four in healthy finances
                                                            • Figure 5: Trends in how consumers describe their financial situation, Feb 2009-Feb 2010
                                                          • One-person households to shoot ahead
                                                              • Figure 6: UK households, by size, 2015 and change in UK households by size, 2010-15
                                                            • More over-55s is mixed news for ready meals
                                                                • Figure 7: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2010-15
                                                              • ABs’ growth to put higher demands on quality
                                                                  • Figure 8: Changes in adult population, by socio-economic group, 2010-15
                                                              • Competitive Context

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • A wide competitive set
                                                                      • Figure 9: Performance of competing markets, market sizes, 2005-09
                                                                    • Fast food chains
                                                                      • Pubs
                                                                        • Ethnic takeaways
                                                                          • Pizza
                                                                            • Pasta
                                                                              • Cooking sauces
                                                                                • Ready to cook
                                                                                • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                                  • Strengths
                                                                                    • Weaknesses
                                                                                    • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Private label dominates launches
                                                                                            • Figure 10: Share of leading brands in new product launches in the ready meals market in the UK, 2009
                                                                                          • Green packaging and purity gain in new launches
                                                                                            • Figure 11: Claims in the ready meals market in the UK, share of total new launches, 2009
                                                                                            • Figure 12: Percentage point change in the share of claims in new product launches in the ready meals market in the UK, 2007-09
                                                                                          • Most new meals are microwaveable
                                                                                            • No additives a given
                                                                                              • But new brands aim for transparency
                                                                                                • Recession sees economy and “British” gain
                                                                                                  • New launches explore a super-premium niche
                                                                                                    • … and authenticity
                                                                                                      • Diet meals back in fashion
                                                                                                        • Pasta freezes over
                                                                                                        • Market size and forecast

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Ready meals bounce back after cut backs
                                                                                                              • Figure 13: UK retail value sales of ready meals, and index of growth, 2005-15
                                                                                                            • Cut backs on ready meals in recession
                                                                                                              • Steadier growth ahead
                                                                                                                  • Figure 14: UK retail value sales of ready meals, current and constant prices, 2005-15
                                                                                                                • The chilled vs. frozen debate
                                                                                                                    • Figure 15: UK retail value sales of Chilled ready meals, current and constant prices, 2005-15
                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: UK retail value sales of Frozen ready meals, current and constant prices, 2005-15
                                                                                                                  • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                                                                  • Segment Performance

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Mixed performance from different cuisines
                                                                                                                        • Chinese and Indian struggle in downturn
                                                                                                                          • British meals flag
                                                                                                                            • Italian strong, American gaining
                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Market segments in the chilled and frozen ready meals market, by cuisine, 2007-09
                                                                                                                              • Standard meals dominate
                                                                                                                                • Premium ready meals aim for “dine in” pitch
                                                                                                                                  • Economy push in downturn
                                                                                                                                    • Healthy meals a steady niche
                                                                                                                                      • Children’s ready meals small but robust
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Market segments in the chilled and frozen ready meals market, by type, 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Market Share

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Heinz takes the lead in frozen
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Manufacturers’ shares of the UK frozen ready meal market, 2007-09
                                                                                                                                          • Weight Watchers takes top spot
                                                                                                                                            • Birds Eye sales fall in 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Young’s gains
                                                                                                                                                • A number of brands exit the market
                                                                                                                                                  • M&S remains top in chilled ready meals
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Own-labels’ and branded share of the UK chilled ready meal market, 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Own-label dominates chilled ready meals
                                                                                                                                                    • M&S maintains top position
                                                                                                                                                      • Tesco at number two
                                                                                                                                                        • Morrisons undertrades in ready meals
                                                                                                                                                        • Companies and Products

                                                                                                                                                          • Major players
                                                                                                                                                            • Asda
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Asda own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                              • Marks and Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: M&S own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                • Morrisons
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Morrisons own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Sainsbury’s
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Sainsbury’s own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Tesco
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Tesco own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Waitrose own-brand ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Birds Eye
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Birds Eye ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: New ranges from Birds Eye, Jan 2008-Feb 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Heinz
                                                                                                                                                                            • Findus
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Findus Group ready meals ranges, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                            • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • Own label dominance = low adspend
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Advertising expenditure on chilled and frozen ready meals, 2005-09
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Spend by media type in the UK ready meals market, 2007-09
                                                                                                                                                                                • M&S dominates adspend, direct sellers surprise in top five
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Adspend by company in the UK ready meals market, 2008-09
                                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer Usage

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Two in five shun ready meals
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Chilled and frozen ready meals eaten or bought, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Men and one-person households are key users of ready meals
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Young mums – the gatekeepers
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Non-users a mixed bag
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Four in five use ready meals fortnightly
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Frequency of eating chilled and frozen ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer – Usage of Ready Meals by Positioning

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Premium leads chilled, economy tops frozen
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Types of ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Premium ready meals a chilled hit
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • ... more so than ‘dine in’ deals
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Three in ten eat economy meals
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lighter meals niche
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Consumers most likely to use nutritionally balanced and light/diet ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer – Usage of Ready Meals by Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • British tops frozen, Italian leads chilled
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Types of chilled and frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chilled ready meals repertoire
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Repertoire of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Frozen ready meals repertoire
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Repertoire of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer – Attitudes towards Buying Ready Meals

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Convenience is still key
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes towards eating or buying ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gains and losses in recession
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bigger meals and see-through packaging hold minority appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer – Attitudes towards Ready Meals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ready meals still face traditional prejudices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Attitudes towards ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Taste and price key questions for non-users
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Non-users’ attitudes towards ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Taste and price are top barriers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Health perception remains a key issue
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Not convenient, not transparent?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • One in three users doubt taste and value
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Chilled ready meals eaters’ attitudes towards ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Women sceptical, over-55s engaged
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Positives (24%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Apathetic (38%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Negatives (38%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Internal and Broader Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Trends in agreement with lifestyle statements, 2005-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Agreement with lifestyle statements, by demographics, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Agreement with lifestyle statements, by demographics (continued), 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Trends in current financial situation, Feb 09-Jul 09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Trends in current financial situation, Sep 09-Feb 10 (continued)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2005-15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2005-15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: UK households, by size, 2005-15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Usage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Chilled and frozen ready meals eaten or bought, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Chilled and frozen ready meals eaten or bought, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Frequency of eating chilled ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Frequency of eating chilled ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Frequency of buying chilled ready meals for someone else, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Frequency of eating frozen ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Frequency of eating frozen ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Frequency of buying frozen ready meals for someone else, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer – Usage of Ready Meals by Positioning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Types of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Most popular types of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Next most popular types of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Types of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Types of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer – Usage of Ready Meals by Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by cuisine, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Most popular chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, by cuisine, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Next most popular chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Number of different types of cuisines of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Chilled ready meals by cuisine , by number of different types of cuisines of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Number of different types of cuisines of chilled ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, by cuisine January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Most popular frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, by cuisine, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Next most popular frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, by cuisine, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Number of different types of cuisines of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Frozen ready meals by cuisine, by number of different types of cuisines of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Number of different types of cuisines of frozen ready meals bought in the last six months, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer – Attitudes towards Buying and Eating Ready Meals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Attitudes towards eating or buying ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Most popular attitude towards eating or buying ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Next most popular attitudes towards eating or buying ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes towards Ready Meals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Most popular attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Next most popular attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, by chilled and frozen ready meals eaten or bought, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Target groups on attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Target groups on attitudes towards chilled and frozen ready meals, by demographics, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Statements on cooking style, by target groups, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Chilled and frozen ready meals eaten or bought, by target groups, January 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 88: Attitudes towards eating or buying ready meals, by target groups, January 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Antony Worrall Thompson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Birds Eye Foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • British Beer and Pub Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Council of Mortgage Lenders
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Findus Ltd [UK]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Food Standards Agency
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • HJ Heinz Company UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Iceland Foods Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • JD Wetherspoon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • John Lewis Partnership
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kellogg Company of GB Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kerry Foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • McDonald's Restaurants Limited (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • New Covent Garden Food Co
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Oakhouse Foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • PizzaExpress Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Seafood Company Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Unilever Bestfoods UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Weight Watchers Ltd. (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chilled and Frozen Ready Meals - UK - May 2010

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