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Prepared Meals - US - May 2019

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, prepared meals are defined as complete meals or entrées that are precooked and frozen or refrigerated. These meals usually include a side dish and require minimal preparation or cooking time.

Side dishes are defined in this report as products intended to be used alongside an entrée or meal center. These items can be frozen or refrigerated. Please note that while the industry has a clear definition of side dishes, the demarcation is not so clear to the consumer, who may well use specific side dishes as a meal or a snack.

The primary segments include the following:

  • Single-serve frozen meals
  • Multi-serve frozen meals
  • Refrigerated meals
  • Frozen side dishes
  • Refrigerated side dishes

Excluded from this report are meals and side dishes prepared instore and sold in the fresh deli or other departments. Also excluded are meals and side dishes sold through foodservice venues.

"After a slight sales decline, the prepared meal category has enjoyed several consecutive years of positive growth, a trend expected to continue. Single-serve and side dishes have fared particularly well, with notable successes in vegetable-based side dishes catering to the consumer interest in increasing their vegetable intake, as well as refrigerated options leveraging a perception of freshness. Similar concepts could be further refined to focus on healthier attributes and even capitalize upon those smaller sizes to afford the consumer a permissible indulgence."
- William Roberts, Jr, Senior Food & Drink Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Meal/side sales remain warm
  • Prepared meals serve a purpose, but it isn’t enjoyment
  • Private label brands are coming on strong
  • Processed stigma hampers virtually the entire category
  • Catering to an interest in clean
  • Target young, up-and-comers with upgraded products
  • Keep up with the changing definition of health

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Meal/side sales remain warm
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of prepared meals, at current prices, 2013-23
          • The issues
            • Prepared meals serve a purpose, but it isn’t enjoyment
              • Figure 2: Preference of taste in prepared meals, February 2019
            • Private label brands are coming on strong
              • Figure 3: Private label versus overall segment performance, by % change in sales for 52 weeks ending January 27, 2019
            • Processed stigma hampers virtually the entire category
              • Figure 4: Processed perception upon interest in prepared meals, any agree, February 2019
            • The opportunities
              • Catering to an interest in clean
                • Figure 5: Improvements focusing on cleaner, more natural options, February 2019
              • Target young, up-and-comers with upgraded products
                • Figure 6: Quality/usage improvements, by age, February 2019
              • Keep up with the changing definition of health
                • Figure 7: TURF analysis – Health factors in prepared meal choice, February 2019
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Steady sales growth to continue
                  • Single-servings, sides proving popular
                    • Refrigerated offerings win with freshness
                      • Consumers finding meals in non-supermarket channels
                      • Market Size and Forecast

                        • Meal/sides sales continue steady growth
                          • Figure 8: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of prepared meals, at current prices, 2013-23
                          • Figure 9: Total US sales and forecast of prepared meals, at current prices, 2013-23
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Fresh perception boosts refrigerated, while brands seek to elevate convenience
                          • Figure 10: Sales of prepared meals, by segment, 2013-23
                        • Growth across channels, greater in non-supermarkets
                          • Figure 11: Total US retail sales of prepared meals, by channel, at current prices, 2013-18
                          • Figure 12: Food and beverage purchase locations, August 2018
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Consumer migration to freshness, quality
                          • Figure 13: Share and approximate number of cooking enthusiasts, 2014-18
                      • Market Factors

                        • Consumer confidence in economy could trigger food upgrades
                          • Figure 14: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2017-October 2018
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • Acquisition boosts ConAgra to market-leading position
                          • Sides take center stage
                            • Legacy brand forced to innovate to keep up
                              • Plant-based popularity lands in prepared meals/sides
                              • Company and Brand Sales of Prepared Meals

                                • Pinnacle acquisition boosts ConAgra’s market share
                                  • Sales of prepared meals by company
                                    • Figure 15: Sales of prepared meals, by company, 52 weeks ending January 27, 2019
                                    • Figure 16: Sales of prepared meals, by company, 2018-19
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Private label options resonate throughout the category
                                    • Figure 17: Private label versus overall segment performance, by percentage change in sales for 52 weeks ending January 27, 2019
                                    • Figure 18: Attribute analysis, prepared meal/side dish launches, private label versus name brands, Jan 2017-Apr 2019
                                  • Indulgence and premium
                                    • Vegetable Sides get a refresh
                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                      • Legacy brands getting nipped at by newcomers
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Harnessing the power of plants
                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                          • Single-serve still popular
                                            • Snacking is an untapped opportunity
                                              • A call for flavor improvements
                                                • Clean up the labels
                                                  • Replicating the restaurant
                                                    • Brands face challenges
                                                      • Time Saver, Adventure Eater consumers turning to prepared meals
                                                      • Consumption of Prepared Meals

                                                        • Single-serve convenience still driving the market
                                                          • Figure 19: Consumption of prepared meals, February 2019
                                                        • Hispanic Millennials seek fresh, portable offerings
                                                          • Figure 20: Consumption of prepared meals, by Hispanic origin and generation, February 2019
                                                      • Usage Occasions for Prepared Meals

                                                        • Weeknights dominate usage occasions; snacking lags
                                                          • Figure 21: Usage occasions for prepared meals, February 2019
                                                        • Younger consumers more likely to lunch, snack on prepared meals
                                                          • Figure 22: Usage occasions for prepared meals, by gender and age, February 2019
                                                      • Reasons for Using Prepared Meals

                                                        • Flavor/taste improvements would resonate
                                                          • Figure 23: Reasons for usage of prepared meals, February 2019
                                                      • Interest in Healthy Concepts

                                                        • Assuaging consumer concerns about processed foods
                                                          • Figure 24: Health/ingredient improvements, February 2019
                                                        • Portion-controlled potential among Hispanic consumers
                                                          • Figure 25: Health/ingredient improvements, by Hispanic origin, by generation, February 2019
                                                      • Quality/Usage Improvement Potential

                                                        • Indulgence’s role in prepared meals
                                                          • Figure 26: Quality/usage improvements, February 2019
                                                        • Restaurants’ healthy aspects
                                                          • Figure 27: Quality/usage improvements, by age, February 2019
                                                        • Restaurant brands as a signal of trust
                                                          • Figure 28: Quality/usage improvements, by household income, February 2019
                                                        • TURF analysis – Meal Improvements
                                                          • Figure 29: TURF analysis – Meal improvements, by Hispanic origin, by generation, February 2019
                                                      • Branding and Prepared Meals

                                                        • Meal brands resonate – to a degree
                                                          • Figure 30: Brand opinions, February 2019
                                                        • Store brands resonating with younger consumers
                                                          • Figure 31: Brand opinions, by age, February 2019
                                                      • Improving Packaging

                                                        • Packaging efforts should focus on reduce and re-use
                                                          • Figure 32: Attitudes toward packaging, any agree, by age, February 2019
                                                      • Room for Snack-sized and Customizable Meals

                                                        • Snack-sized potential
                                                          • Figure 33: Interest in snack-sized meal options, February 2019
                                                          • Figure 34: Interest in snack-sized meal options, by generation, February 2019
                                                      • Health and Prepared Meals

                                                        • Processed reputation still a challenge
                                                          • Figure 35: Health perceptions of prepared meals, February 2019
                                                        • Fresher or plant-based options could appeal to younger generations
                                                          • Figure 36: Health perceptions of prepared meals, by age, February 2019
                                                      • Prepared Meals by Consumer Segmentation

                                                        • Food and Drink Consumer Segmentation
                                                            • Figure 37: Food/drink consumer segmentation of prepared meals/sides, February 2019
                                                          • Time Savers, Adventure Eaters more likely to turn to prepared meals
                                                            • Figure 38: Consumption of prepared meals, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                            • Figure 39: Health and prepared meals, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                          • Gourmet appeal for Quality Seekers
                                                            • Figure 40: Quality/usage improvements, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                          • Value Chasers largely unengaged in the category
                                                            • Figure 41: Reasons for usage of prepared meals, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                            • Figure 42: Brand opinions, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                            • Figure 43: Innovation opinions, by food/drink consumer segmentation, February 2019
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Sales data
                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                    • Appendix – The Market

                                                                        • Figure 44: Total US sales and forecast of prepared meals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 45: Total US retail sales of prepared meals, by segment, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                        • Figure 46: Total US retail sales and forecast of single-serve frozen meals, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 47: Total US retail sales and forecast of single-serve frozen meals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 48: Total US retail sales and forecast of multi-serve frozen meals, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 49: Total US retail sales and forecast of multi-serve frozen meals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 50: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated meals, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 51: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated meals, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 52: Total US retail sales and forecast of side dishes, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 53: Total US retail sales and forecast of side dishes, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                        • Figure 54: Total US retail sales of prepared meals, by channel, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                        • Figure 55: Total US retail sales of prepared meals, by channel, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                        • Figure 56: US supermarket sales of prepared meals, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                        • Figure 57: US sales of prepared meals through other retail channels, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                    • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                        • Figure 58: Multi-outlet sales of single-serve frozen meals, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2018 and 2019
                                                                        • Figure 59: Multi-outlet sales of multi-serve frozen meals, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2018 and 2019
                                                                        • Figure 60: Multi-outlet sales of refrigerated meals, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2018 and 2019
                                                                        • Figure 61: Multi-outlet sales of side dishes, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2018 and 2019
                                                                    • TURF Analysis – Health and Meals - Methodology

                                                                        • Figure 62: TURF analysis – Healthy features, February 2019
                                                                    • TURF Analysis – Meal Improvements - Methodology

                                                                        • Figure 63: TURF analysis – Desired features, February 2019

                                                                    Prepared Meals - US - May 2019

                                                                    US $4,395.00 (Excl.Tax)