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Prepared Meals and Side Dishes - US - May 2014

“Category purchasers value the convenience of prepared meals and side dishes and prefer items with natural ingredients, cleaner product labels, and better-for-you claims. Addressing the specific reasons consumers purchase these items, and promoting their versatility, can benefit the category overall.”

– Amanda Topper, Food Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How can perceptions of the frozen category be improved?
  • What will the main source of innovation for the category be?
  • How can the use of prepared meals and side dishes be expanded?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                • Executive Summary

                  • Overview
                    • The market
                      • Sales to decline to $9.5 billion in 2018
                        • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of prepared meals and side dishes, at current prices, 2008-18
                      • Single-serve frozen meals make up more than half the category
                        • Figure 2: Total US retail sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by segment, at current prices, 2011 and 2013
                      • Key players
                        • Nestlé and ConAgra continue to dominate category
                          • Figure 3: MULO sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by leading companies, 2014*
                        • The consumer
                          • Frozen meals have highest household penetration
                            • Figure 4: Household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                          • Convenience, ease of use top motivators for purchase
                            • Figure 5: Reasons for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, Top five, March 2014
                          • Reduced- and ingredient-related claims most considered
                            • Figure 6: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, Top five, March 2014
                          • Natural, high-quality items top factors for greater purchase frequency
                            • Figure 7: Factors for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes more often, Top five, March 2014
                          • Strongest attitudes toward health and product labeling
                            • Figure 8: Attitudes toward prepared meals and side dishes, Top five, March 2014
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                              • How can perceptions of the frozen category be improved?
                                • Issues
                                  • Insight: Transparency and innovation are vital to a shift
                                    • What will the main source of innovation for the category be?
                                      • Issues
                                        • Insight: Restaurant-quality items, convenience, and BFY options will all play a role
                                          • How can the use of prepared meals and side dishes be expanded?
                                            • Issues
                                              • Insight: Items can be marketed for specific eating occasions
                                              • Trend Applications

                                                  • Trend: The Power of One
                                                    • Trend: Prove it
                                                      • Trend: Objectify
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Sales forecasted to reach $9.5 billion in 2018
                                                            • Sales and forecast of prepared meals and side dishes
                                                              • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of prepared meals and side dishes, at current prices, 2008-18
                                                              • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of prepared meals and side dishes, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2008-18
                                                            • Fan chart forecast
                                                                • Figure 11: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of prepared meals and side dishes, at current prices, 2008-18
                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Frozen food dissatisfaction
                                                                  • Figure 12: Attitudes/Opinions about Food, November 2012-December 2013
                                                                • Households with children declining, single-person households rise
                                                                  • Figure 13: US households, by presence of own children, 2003-13
                                                              • Competitive Context

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Increasing interest in foodservice options dining out of the home
                                                                    • Figure 14: Frequency of dining out in 2014, by gender, October 2013
                                                                  • In-store prepared meals offer a fresh alternative
                                                                  • Segment Performance

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Single-serve frozen meals represent more than half of the category
                                                                        • Sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by segment
                                                                          • Figure 15: Total US retail sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by segment, at current prices, 2011 and 2013
                                                                        • Single-serve frozen meals lead category but continue to decline
                                                                          • Sales and forecast of single-serve frozen meals
                                                                            • Figure 16: Total US retail sales and forecast of single-serve frozen meals at current prices, 2008-18
                                                                          • Multiserve frozen meals decline most of any segment
                                                                            • Sales and forecast of multiserve frozen meals
                                                                              • Figure 17: Total US retail sales and forecast of multiserve frozen meals at current prices, 2008-18
                                                                            • Refrigerated meals demonstrate strongest growth
                                                                              • Sales and forecast of refrigerated meals
                                                                                • Figure 18: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated meals at current prices, 2008-18
                                                                              • Refrigerated side dishes grow 16% from 2008-13
                                                                                • Sales and forecast of refrigerated side dishes
                                                                                  • Figure 19: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated side dishes at current prices, 2008-18
                                                                                • Frozen side dishes maintain smallest market share
                                                                                  • Sales and forecast of frozen side dishes
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Total US retail sales and forecast of frozen side dishes at current prices, 2008-18
                                                                                • Retail Channels

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Most prepared meals and sides purchased in supermarkets
                                                                                      • Sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by channel
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Total US retail sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by channel, at current prices, 2011-13
                                                                                      • Supermarket sales dip 7% over past five years
                                                                                        • Supermarket sales of prepared meals and side dishes
                                                                                          • Figure 22: US supermarket sales of prepared meals and side dishes, at current prices, 2008-13
                                                                                        • Greater retail availability positively impacts other channel sales
                                                                                          • Other retail channel sales of prepared meals and side dishes
                                                                                            • Figure 23: US sales of prepared meals and side dishes, through other retail channels, at current prices, 2008-13
                                                                                        • Leading Companies and Brand Analysis

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Nestlé, ConAgra maintain category lead
                                                                                              • Figure 24: “Lean Cuisine Diet Reality Check,” TV ad, 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Lean Cuisine website, April 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Healthy Choice “No-carb Queens,” TV ad, 2012
                                                                                              • Figure 27: Weight Watchers Smart Ones “America Gets a Clean Slate,” TV ad, 2014
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Smart Ones Print Ad, April 2014
                                                                                            • Increases for Amy’s Kitchen, Bob Evans
                                                                                              • Manufacturer sales of prepared meals and side dishes
                                                                                                • Figure 29: MULO sales of prepared meals and side dishes, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                            • Brand Share – Single-serve Frozen Meals

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • All leading brands experience year-over-year sales declines
                                                                                                  • Manufacturer sales of single-serve frozen meals
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: MULO sales of single-serve frozen meals, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                  • ConAgra, Nestlé lead in household penetration
                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Key purchase measures for the top brands of single-serve frozen dinners/entrees, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013 (current) and Dec. 29, 2012 (year ago)
                                                                                                • Brand Share – Multiserve Frozen Meals

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • ConAgra, private label face largest sales declines
                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Stouffer’s website, April 2014
                                                                                                    • Manufacturer sales of multiserve frozen meals
                                                                                                      • Figure 33: MULO sales of multiserve frozen meals, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                    • Strongest brand loyalty for Stouffer’s, private label
                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Key purchase measures for the top brands of multiserve frozen dinners/entrees, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013 (current) and Dec. 29, 2012 (year ago)
                                                                                                  • Brand Share – Refrigerated Meals

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Hormel leads in a highly fragmented segment
                                                                                                        • Manufacturer sales of refrigerated meals
                                                                                                          • Figure 35: MULO sales of refrigerated meals, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                        • Hormel leads in segment household penetration
                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Key purchase measures for the top brands of refrigerated dinners/entrees by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013 (current) and Dec. 29, 2012 (year ago)
                                                                                                      • Brand Share – Frozen Side Dishes

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Leading brands face year-over-year sales declines
                                                                                                            • Manufacturer sales of frozen side dishes
                                                                                                              • Figure 37: MULO sales of frozen side dishes, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                            • Nearly one quarter of households purchase frozen side dishes
                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Key purchase measures for the top brands of frozen side dishes, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013 (current) and Dec. 29, 2012 (year ago)
                                                                                                          • Brand Share – Refrigerated Side Dishes

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Private label products lead in segment market share
                                                                                                                • Manufacturer sales of refrigerated side dishes
                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: MULO sales of refrigerated side dishes, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                                                • Bob Evans maintains strong brand loyalty
                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Key purchase measures for the top brands of refrigerated side dishes by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013 (current) and Dec. 29, 2012 (year ago)
                                                                                                              • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                                • Growth in side dish product development
                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Prepared meals and side dishes product launches (frozen and refrigerated), by subcategory, 2009-14*
                                                                                                                • Lack of new product innovation
                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Prepared meals and side dishes product launches (frozen and refrigerated), by type, 2009-14*
                                                                                                                • Convenience-related claims most common for prepared meals
                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Prepared meals product launches (frozen and refrigerated), by top 10 claims, 2009-14*
                                                                                                                • Increase in side dish ingredient claims
                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Side dishes product launches, frozen and refrigerated, by top 10 claims, 2009-14*
                                                                                                                • Products with reduced claims appeal to dieters and non-dieters
                                                                                                                  • Homestyle favorites
                                                                                                                  • Social Media – Prepared Meals and Side Dishes

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Market overview
                                                                                                                        • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Key social media metrics, April 2014
                                                                                                                        • Brand usage and awareness
                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Brand usage and awareness for select prepared meals and side dishes brands, March 2014
                                                                                                                        • Interactions with prepared meals and side dishes brands
                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Interactions with select prepared meals and side dishes brands, March 2014
                                                                                                                        • Leading online campaigns
                                                                                                                          • New product launches
                                                                                                                            • Rewards programs
                                                                                                                              • Promoting healthy lifestyles
                                                                                                                                • What we think
                                                                                                                                  • Online conversations
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Online conversations around selected prepared meal and side dish brands, by month, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Where are people talking about prepared meals and side dish brands?
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Online conversations around selected prepared meal and side dish brands, by page type, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                  • What are people talking about?
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Online topics of conversation around selected prepared meals and side dishes brands, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                • Household Purchase

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Frozen meals have highest past purchase
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Frozen complete dinners consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Frozen dinners consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Frozen dinners consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Complete packaged prepared dishes & complete dinner mixes consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, by gender, March 2014
                                                                                                                                    • 25-44s most likely to have purchased prepared meals and sides
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Past purchase skews toward higher-earning households
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Motivations for Purchase

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Men motivated by cost, flavor of prepared meals and sides
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Reasons for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, by gender, March 2014
                                                                                                                                      • 25-34s more practical in purchase motivations
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Reasons for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Refrigerated sides lack in variety
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Reasons for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Consumption Occasions

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • 18-34s more likely to eat prepared meals and sides as a snack, ingredient
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Consumption occasions for prepared meals and side dishes, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Refrigerated meals most versatile
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Consumption occasions for prepared meals and side dishes, by household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Health and Nutrition Claims Considered

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Younger consumers more ingredient conscious
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes – Any consider, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Reduced claims most important to those purchasing frozen meals
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 64: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, Top five, March 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Factors for Greater Purchase Frequency

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Ingredients, value, most important for increasing purchase frequency
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Newman’s Own Chicken Florentine & Farfalle Complete Skillet Meal
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Factors for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes more often, by gender, March 2014
                                                                                                                                              • Storage a top factor for the oldest consumer groups
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Factors for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes more often, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Attitudes toward Prepared Meals and Side Dishes

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • 25-44s most concerned about health, ingredients
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Attitudes toward prepared meals and side dishes, by age, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Refrigerated meal purchasers feel strongest about labeling, packaging
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Attitudes toward prepared meals and side dishes, by household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Hispanics motivated by taste, cuisine
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Reasons for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Hispanics more inclined to use prepared meals and side dishes as snacks
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Consumption occasions for prepared meals and side dishes, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Hispanics are more interested in nutritional claims, packaging changes
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes – Any consider, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Attitudes toward prepared meals and side dishes, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Fresh refrigerated potato products consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Frozen potato products consumption, October 2007-December 2013
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes – Any consider, by household income, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Nutritional claims considered when purchasing prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Factors for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes more often, by household purchase of prepared meals and side dishes, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Factors for purchasing prepared meals and side dishes more often, by race and Hispanic origin, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Social Media – Prepared Meals and Sides

                                                                                                                                                    • Brand usage or awareness
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Brand usage or awareness, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Bob Evans (prepared meals and/or side dishes only) usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Weight Watchers Smart Ones usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Simply Potatoes usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 85: Lean Cuisine usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 86: Stouffer’s usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 87: Hungry-Man usage or awareness, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Activities done
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 88: Activities done, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 89: Bob Evans – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 90: Bob Evans – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 91: Bob Evans – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 92: Bob Evans – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 93: Weight Watchers Smart Ones – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Weight Watchers Smart Ones – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Weight Watchers Smart Ones – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 96: Weight Watchers Smart Ones – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 97: Simply Potatoes – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 98: Simply Potatoes – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 99: Simply Potatoes – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 100: Simply Potatoes – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 101: Lean Cuisine – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 102: Lean Cuisine – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 103: Lean Cuisine – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 104: Lean Cuisine – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 105: Stouffer’s – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 106: Stouffer’s – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 107: Stouffer’s – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 108: Stouffer’s – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 109: Hungry-Man – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 110: Hungry-Man – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 111: Hungry-Man – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 112: Hungry-Man – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, March 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 113: Key social media metrics—Lean Cuisine, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 114: Key social media metrics—Stouffer’s, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 115: Key social media metrics—Hungry-Man, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 116: Key social media metrics—Smart Ones, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 117: Key social media metrics—Bob Evans, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 118: Key social media metrics—Simply Potatoes, April 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Online conversations
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 119: Online conversations around selected prepared meal and side dish brands, by month, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 120: Online conversations around selected prepared meal and side dish brands, by page type, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 121: Online topics of conversation around selected prepared meals and side dishes brands, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Information Resources Inc. Builders Panel Data Definitions

                                                                                                                                                      • Information Resources Inc. Consumer Network Metrics
                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                        • Amy's Kitchen Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • Amy's Kitchen, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • Bob Evans Farms Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • ConAgra Foods, Inc
                                                                                                                                                        • Del Monte Foods
                                                                                                                                                        • HJ Heinz Company
                                                                                                                                                        • Michael Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • Nestlé USA
                                                                                                                                                        • Pinnacle Foods Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                        • TGI Friday's
                                                                                                                                                        • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                        • Weight Watchers International Inc.

                                                                                                                                                        Prepared Meals and Side Dishes - US - May 2014

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