- Prepared meals encompass meals where all the preparation has been done by the manufacturer, and the meal just requires heating by conventional or microwave oven, crock pot, wok, etc. Most completed meals combine a protein (chicken, beef, fish, egg), a vegetable, and a starch (potato, pasta, rice).
- Meal kits: kits which require assembly to create a complete meal or a complete course of a meal. The main characteristic of this sub-category is that the product requires additional preparation besides just heating. These products will most likely include all the ingredients necessary to make the meal (in the pack), but adding additional ingredients such as meat, milk, or butter is also common.
- Pastry dishes: centre of the plate savoury meal items made with a form of pastry. This will commonly include savoury pies, quiches, sausage rolls, pasties, parcels, slices and pockets.
Market size is segmented, where possible, as follows:
Market size comprises frozen, chilled and ambient prepared meals and meal centres, which could come in any of the following formats:
- Complete meals, which need no additional ingredients to be supplied by the consumer. Spaghetti Bolognese and curry with rice are typical examples of this category. Including frozen, chilled and ambient ready meals.
- Part meals or meal centres, to which the consumer may, but need not, add items such as vegetables, pasta or rice. Products such as shepherd’s pie, single ethnic dishes (for example, chicken tikka) and vegetable dishes that have a dual purpose as part meals and accompaniments are, therefore, included in this definition.
- Meal kits, which require assembly and/or the addition of ingredients to create a complete meal, such as fajita kits; which include tortillas, salsa and spice mix, but require the addition of vegetables and/or meat/chicken.
UK data also includes:
- Ready-to-cook foods, which are further-prepared/flavoured chilled foods specifically positioned on a platform of needing no further preparation on the part of the consumer other than opening the packet and cooking the product according to the on-pack instructions. The major multiples have developed their own specific sub-branded ranges of such foods with a view to assisting consumer selection, such as the Sainsbury’s Just Cook range, ASDA’s Go Cook! range and Marks & Spencer’s Cook! range. It should be noted that some sectors of the trade use the terms ‘part prepared’ or ‘partially prepared foods’ – both terms are deemed to refer to ready-to-cook foods as defined for the purpose of this report. However, these are negligible in the rest of the review countries. UK segmentation also includes figures for pies.