2020
9
UK Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods Market Report 2020
2020-08-27T16:05:39+01:00
OX989420
2195
123517
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Report
en_GB
“During the COVID-19 pandemic demand for ready meals has been hit by people doing more cooking from scratch. Offering quick meals is still important though, and NPD should focus on…

UK Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods Market Report 2020

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods UK market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For 53% of people ready meals are a nice treat. In appealing to those not wishing to cook or wanting a meal they wouldn’t cook at home, ready meals compete against both meals out and takeaways. Given this competition, in order to appeal as a nice treat, the meals remain under pressure to strive to match foodservice options on quality, taste and excitement. The benefit to ready meals of people being at home for more meals during the COVID-19 pandemic has been negated by them cooking more meals from scratch/part scratch, reducing demand. In 2021 though, the market will benefit from people returning to workplaces and placing a bigger focus on convenience again, as well as still eating out less.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Richard Caines, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic demand for ready meals has been hit by people doing more cooking from scratch. Offering quick meals is still important though, and NPD should focus on both better-for-you options that tap interest in healthy eating, as well as meals that are attractive as a nice treat and an alternative to a takeaway or meal out, in light of consumer interest. Replicating restaurant and takeaway meals more closely will help products appeal as wariness around busy public places lingers and household incomes are stretched Richard Caines
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this report
    • Products covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Impact of COVID-19 on ready meals and ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 4 July 2020
    • The market
    • More cooking from scratch during COVID-19 reducing demand
    • Return to growth expected in 2021 with volumes falling to 2025
      • Figure 2: Forecast of UK retail value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2015-25
    • Rate of growth of total value sales stalls between 2015-19
    • Steep decline in sales of ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 3: UK retail value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, by segment, 2018-20
    • Strong interest in healthy eating
    • More shared meals during lockdown
    • Plant-based trend important influence on ready meals
    • Income squeeze will hit discretionary spend
    • Companies and brands
    • Own-label dominates chilled ready meals
      • Figure 4: UK retail sales of leading brands in chilled ready meals, by value, 2019/20*
    • Sales of own-label frozen ready meals grow strongly
      • Figure 5: UK retail sales of leading brands in frozen ready meals, by value, 2019/20
    • Premium launches continue to feature strongly in own-label NPD
    • Plant-based ranges a big focus of product development
    • Increase in advertising across most media in 2019
    • The consumer
    • 86% of adults eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, three in 10 eat chilled ready meals at least weekly
      • Figure 6: Frequency of eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
      • Figure 7: Purchase drivers when choosing ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Ready meals are an emergency meal solution, but also serve for trying new cuisines
      • Figure 8: Behaviours related to buying and eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Opportunities for more fish and chunks of vegetables in main dishes
      • Figure 9: Interest in different features for ready meals or ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Saving time the major driver of purchasing but ready meals also appeal as a nice treat
      • Figure 10: Attitudes towards ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • What we think
  3. Impact of COVID-19 on Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • The market
    • More cooking from scratch reducing demand
    • Return to workplaces and recession will boost sales
    • Success of remote working may result in longer-term changes
    • The consumer
    • Pandemic and aftermath will increase focus on health
    • Functional claims will be more important
    • COVID-19 expected to further boost flexitarian and plant-based trends
    • COVID-19 puts spotlight on hygiene over plastic concerns
    • Companies and brands
    • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
    • Replicating restaurant experience at home holds potential
    • ‘Dine in’ meals in good position to do well again
  4. Issues and Insights

    • Elevating the appeal of ready meals as a nice treat important
    • The facts
    • The implications
    • Opportunity for healthier ranges to increase usage frequency
    • The facts
    • The implications
    • Focus on different main ingredients and cuisines will support sales
    • The facts
    • The implications
  5. The Market – What You Need to Know

    • Rate of growth of total value sales stalls
    • More cooking from scratch during COVID-19 reducing demand
    • Return to growth expected in 2021 with volumes falling to 2025
    • Steep decline in sales of ready-to-cook foods
    • Strong interest in healthy eating
    • Plant-based trend important influence on ready meals
    • World cuisines are an ingrained part of UK cuisine
    • Ready meals compete with meals out and takeaways
    • Income squeeze will hit discretionary spend
  6. Market Size and Forecast

    • Rate of growth of total value sales stalls
    • More cooking from scratch during COVID-19 reducing demand
      • Figure 11: UK retail value and volume sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2015-25
    • Return to workplaces and post-COVID recession will boost sales
    • Success of remote working may result in longer-term changes
      • Figure 12: Forecast of UK retail value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2015-25
      • Figure 13: Forecast of UK retail volume sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2015-25
    • Short-, medium- and long-term impact on the industry
      • Figure 14: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 4 July 2020
  7. Market Segmentation

    • Steep decline in sales of ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 15: UK retail value and volume sales and shares of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, by segment, 2018-20
  8. Market Drivers

    • Strong interest in healthy eating
    • Being healthy an important driver of choice
    • Strong demand for speedy meal solutions
    • Ready meals cater well for busy lifestyles …
    • … but more scratch cooking a barrier to sales growth
    • Plant-based trend important influence on ready meals
    • Four in 10 limiting meat/poultry consumption
    • Headlines link human activity to pandemics
    • Concerns about packaging waste
    • World cuisines make up a big part of ready meals
    • Ready meals compete with meals out and takeaways
    • Decline projected in some core younger user groups
      • Figure 16: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2014-24
    • Income squeeze will hit discretionary spend
  9. Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

    • Own-label dominates chilled ready meals
    • Sales of own-label frozen ready meals grow strongly
    • Premium launches continue to feature strongly in own-label NPD
    • Plant-based ranges a big focus of product development
    • Meals with less than 400 calories feature prominently in new launches
    • Ready meals also focus on balanced nutrition
    • Small proportion of launches make functional claims
    • Gino’s at Iceland puts emphasis on real Italian food
    • Advertisers of branded products dominate spending
  10. Market Share

    • Own-label dominates chilled ready meals
      • Figure 17: UK retail sales of leading brands in chilled ready meals, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
    • Sales of own-label frozen ready meals grow strongly
      • Figure 18: UK retail sales of leading brands in frozen ready meals, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
    • Big drop in own-label sales of ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 19: UK retail sales of leading brands in ready-to-cook foods, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
    • Shopping patterns favour familiar favourites
  11. Launch Activity and Innovation

    • Premium launches a big feature of own-label NPD
      • Figure 20: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making premium claims, 2015-20
      • Figure 21: Examples of premium launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, 2020
    • Plant-based ranges a big focus of product development
      • Figure 22: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making vegetarian and vegan claims, 2015-20
    • Growing choice of own-label plant-based meals …
      • Figure 23: Examples of own-label launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market under own-label plant-based ranges, 2020
    • … with continued activity also from brands
      • Figure 24: Examples of exclusive and branded vegan/plant-based launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, 2020
    • Plant-based meat substitutes featuring in ready meals
      • Figure 25: Examples of launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market containing meat substitutes, 2020
    • Meals with less than 400 calories feature prominently in new launches
    • Slimming World range expands, WW relaunch continues
      • Figure 26: Examples of diet launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, 2020
    • Mainstream ranges deliver under 400 calories
      • Figure 27: Examples of launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market with less than 400 calories that do not make diet/light claims, 2020
    • Ready meals also focusing on balanced nutrition
    • Leading grocers expand ‘Balanced’ ranges
    • Scratch highlights experts, The Gym Kitchen calls out ‘macrobalanced’
      • Figure 28: Examples of launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market focused on balanced nutrition, 2020
      • Figure 29: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making high/added protein claims, 2015-20
    • Small proportion of launches making functional claims
    • COVID-19 boosts interest in immune healthy, suggesting opportunities
      • Figure 30: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making functional claims, 2015-20
    • Gino’s at Iceland puts emphasis on real Italian food, Côte goes DTC
      • Figure 31: Examples of launches in the UK frozen ready meals market under the Gino D’Acampo range at Iceland, 2019
    • Supermarkets making big moves away from black plastic trays
  12. Advertising and Marketing Activity

    • Increase in advertising across most media in 2019
      • Figure 32: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on ready meals**, by media type, 2016-20
    • Advertisers of branded products dominate spending
      • Figure 33: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on ready meals, by advertiser, 2019 and 2020
    • Top two advertisers are home delivery companies
    • Wiltshire Farm Foods and Parsley Box target older population
    • Bigham’s promotes ‘Only Delicious Will Do’ message
    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
  13. The Consumer – What You Need to Know

    • 86% of UK adults eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
    • Three in 10 people eat chilled ready meals at least once a week
    • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
    • Strong demand for healthy readymade meal solutions
    • Three quarters buy ready meals as an emergency meal solution
    • Ready meals seen as a good way of trying of new cuisines
    • Opportunities for more fish and chunks of vegetables in main dishes
    • Saving time the major driver of purchasing
    • Ready meals need to maximise appeal as a treat, replicate popular foodservice meals
  14. Impact of COVID-19 on the Ready Meals Consumer

    • Move cooking from scratch a barrier to sales growth
      • Figure 34: Changes to cooking from scratch (ie using/preparing meals with raw ingredients) since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, by age, 23 April-7 May 2020
    • More meals shared with friends/family during COVID-19
      • Figure 35: Incidence of eating with family/other members of your household, by age, 23 April-7 May 2020
    • COVID-19 expected to further boost flexitarian and plant-based trends
      • Figure 36: ‘The COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak has made a vegan diet more appealing’, by age, 23 April-7 May 2020
    • Pandemic and aftermath will increase focus on health
      • Figure 37: Concerns about health and fitness as a result of the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, 23 April-7 May 2020
    • Consumers reticent about returning to restaurants
      • Figure 38: Concerns about going to restaurants/bars, 9 July-15 July 2020
    • COVID-19 pandemic expected to heighten focus on sustainability
      • Figure 39: Changes in the environment being seen as a priority since the COVID-19 outbreak, by gender and age, 7-14 May 2020
  15. Usage of Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • 86% of UK adults eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 40: Types of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods eaten, May 2020
    • Three in 10 people eat chilled ready meals at least once a week
      • Figure 41: Frequency of eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • 16-34s are core users of all meal types
      • Figure 42: Types of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods eaten, by age and frequency, May 2020
    • Core 16-34s users will be starkly affected by the recession
  16. Purchase Drivers

    • Taste and price most important purchase drivers
    • Income squeeze will cement price focus but ‘dine in’ deals hold potential
      • Figure 43: Purchase drivers when choosing ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Strong demand for healthy readymade meal solutions
    • Opportunity for healthier ranges to increase usage frequency
      • Figure 44: Examples of launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods calling out 5-a-day or protein content, 2019-20
    • Nutritionally well balanced meals need communicating clearly
  17. Behaviours Related to Buying and Eating Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Ready meals seen as a convenient meal option
    • Three quarters buy ready meals as an emergency meal solution
      • Figure 45: Behaviours related to buying and eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Meal kits appeal more to younger people
    • Ready meals seen as a good way of trying new cuisines
    • More environmentally-friendly packaging would help sales
    • Too much packaging puts consumers off
    • COVID-19 puts spotlight on hygiene
    • Recyclability checked by a third of shoppers
  18. Different Features of Interest for Ready Meals or Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Opportunities for more fish and chunks of vegetables in main dishes
      • Figure 46: Interest in different features for ready meals or ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Nearly one in four would like more on provenance of ingredients
    • Opportunities for more prepared meals for families to share
    • Demand for family-size ready meals not being catered for
  19. Attitudes towards Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Saving time the major driver of purchasing
      • Figure 47: Attitudes towards ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, May 2020
    • Ready meals need to maximise appeal as a nice treat
    • Ready meals continue to face close competition from foodservice
    • Treat credentials can help them win
    • Replicating most popular meals in foodservice important to NPD
    • But few examples of restaurant brands in ready meals
    • ‘Grocerants’ take off
    • Moving from foodservice to direct to consumer to retail outlets
  20. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
    • Consumer research methodology
  21. Appendix – Market Share

      • Figure 48: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in chilled ready meals, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
      • Figure 49: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in frozen ready meals, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
      • Figure 50: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in ready-to-cook foods, by value and volume, 2018/19-2019/20
  22. Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

      • Figure 51: New launches in the UK retail ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, by private label vs branded, 2015-20
      • Figure 52: New launches in the UK retail ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, by storage type, 2015-20
      • Figure 53: New launches in the UK retail ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, by company, 2015-20
      • Figure 54: New launches in the UK retail ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, by claim, 2015-20
      • Figure 55: New launches in the UK retail ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market, by launch type, 2015-20

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