Ready and Prepared Meals - Canada - May 2015
“Perception around the overall quality of ready-to-eat frozen meals is a challenge for the category. When asked, only one quarter of consumers prefer ready-to-eat meals when other options are available indicating efforts around freshness and authenticity are needed to support growth. Turning to category strengths, messaging that promotes ready-to-eat meals as a vehicle for trying new flavours is likely to resonate based on consumer input.”
– Joel Gregoire, Senior Food & Drink Analyst
This report discusses the following key topics:
- Consumers perceive ready-to-eat meals to offer lower quality
- Dealing with dads (and parents)
- Over-45s represent a challenge for frozen ready and prepared meals
- Ready-to-eat meals can be a vehicle for exploring new flavours
Though most Canadian adults ate a frozen meal in the six months to March 2015, only four in ten turned to the category more than once per month, suggesting room to grow frequency. Mintel forecasts volume declines through 2019 to soften compared to the 2009-14 period, though declines in inflation adjusted sales are predicted to accelerate indicating increased price competition in the category.
The category suffers from generally negative consumer perceptions, as two thirds agree that ready-to-eat meals contain too much sodium and that products are overly processed. As such, frozen meals are relegated to being a secondary alternative at dinner with only one quarter of consumers indicating that they prefer to eat ready-to-eat meals to other options.
When asked what they would like to see in frozen meals, the top ask from consumers is fewer preservatives and artificial ingredients. Additionally, half of consumers point to no or fewer artificial ingredients to be among their top factors when choosing a ready-to eat meal, suggesting demand for cleaner ingredient decks and more ‘authentic’ meal options.
This report explores the profile and habits of Canadian ready-to-eat frozen meal consumers; including the frequency with which they eat frozen meals, at what occasions they turn to the category, interest in different options and factors that lead consumers to purchase. This report also examines attitudes towards the category across various demographic groups and identifies opportunities for innovation.
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