2022
9
UK Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods Market Report 2022
2022-07-26T04:04:17+01:00
OX1103161
2195
153553
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Report
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“While incomes feel squeezed in 2022, ready meals/ready-to-cook foods can offer an affordable alternative to eating out. Making healthy ingredients visible will help the category respond to the predicted long-term…

UK Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods Market Report 2022

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK Ready to Eat Food Market Report identifies consumers’ attitudes towards ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, factors prioritised when purchasing ready meals and future innovations in the ready-to-eat food market. This report covers the ready meals market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the UK ready meals market.

 

Ready to Eat Foods – Current Market Landscape 

Growing pressures on household incomes will lead some consumers to curb their dining out behaviours, enabling the ready meals and ready-to-cook food market to step in as a more affordable alternative. There are increasing opportunities to tap into the at-home lunch occasions which have enlarged due to the growing number of hybrid workers.

However, high food inflation may also prompt some to trade down within the category, purchasing own-brand ready-to-cook food labels or even switching to home cooking.

Ready to Eat Foods – Market Share and Key Industry Statistics

An increased focus on health over the long term and the strong perceptions of home cooking as healthy will make it crucial for brands in the UK ready meal market to continue to explore healthier NPD, with a focus on the increasingly significant flexitarian trend.

The proposed introduction of HFSS volume price promotion bans in late 2022 will have a limited impact on the ready meals market size.

  • 30% of UK consumers would purchase a dish that would take a long time to cook from scratch.
  • 27% of UK consumers would purchase a dish that was nutritionally complete.
  • 63% of UK adults agree that they purchase ready meals as an alternative to having a takeaway.
  • 50% of UK consumers agree that further information about how the ready meal was produced would make them more trustworthy.

Future Trends in the UK Ready-to-Cook Food Market

Providing consumers with greater transparency about ingredients can not only combat fears around products from the ready to cook food market being processed but also provides an opportunity to boost their convenience proposition by highlighting complicated and time-intensive techniques.

The ageing population poses challenges to the ready meals market size going forward, with the number of core younger users of the category declining. Responding to the predicted long-term interest in flexitarianism and health will be crucial going forward, whilst improved cooking skills in the home will remain an ongoing threat.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Food Market Research.

Understand Quickly

  • Usage of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods overall and among key demographics
  • Key trends in recent launch activity and opportunities going forward
  • Factors prioritised by consumers when choosing a ready meal and ready-to-cook food
  • Consumer behaviours and attitudes related to ready meals market and ready-to-cook food market
  • Concepts of interest in ready meals and ready-to-cook foods
  • Explores the ready meals market size and ready-to-eat food market share.

 

Covered in this Report

Products: Chilled, frozen and ambient ready meals, ready-to-cook foods, non-pastry pies.

Brands:  BOL, Blooming Good Food Co., Morrisons (Plant Revolution), Lidl (Vemondo), M&S (Plant Kitchen), beyond Meat, Bosh!, tesco (Wicked Kitchen), Princes, Plot9, Branston, Veetee, Itsu, Leon, Wasabi, Côte (Côte at Home), Zizzi, Carluccio’s, Sainsbury’s, Pizza Express, Chiquito, Cathedral City, Amazon (The Kitchen), Mindful Chef, Greggs, TGI Fridays, Harry Ramdsden, Iceland, Waitrose, Nestlé, Pilgrim’s (Food Masters), The Gym Kitchen, Wild Hare, Ocado, General Mills (Old El Paso), Wiltshire Farms Foods, Charlie Bigham’s, the Vegetarian, Meatless Farm, Heinz,Huel, Giovanni Rana Pasta.

Expert Analysis from a Specialist in the Field

This report, written by Alice Pilkington, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

“While incomes feel squeezed in 2022, ready meals/ready-to-cook foods can offer an affordable alternative to eating out. Making healthy ingredients visible will help the category respond to the predicted long-term focus on health, whilst interest in shelf-stable, vegetable-based ready meals points to an opportunity for the segment to tap into the increasingly significant flexitarian trend. Providing greater transparency on production can also help build trust.”

Alice Pilkington
Food and Drink Analyst

 

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Market context
    • Products covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • The five-year outlook for ready meals and ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • The market
    • Value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods bounce back in 2021
    • Income squeeze will offer ongoing support to the ready meals/ready-to-cook foods market
      • Figure 2: Market forecast for retail value sales of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2017-27
    • Chilled ready meals buck overall decline trend in 2021
      • Figure 3: UK retail value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, by segment, 2020-22
    • Inflationary pressures squeezing household incomes
    • Companies and brands
    • Own-label continues to dominate in chilled ready meals; Charlie Bigham’s continues to build on COVID-19 boost
      • Figure 4: UK retail sales of leading brands in chilled ready meals, by value, 2020/21* and 2021/22**
    • Own-label retains share in frozen ready meals
      • Figure 5: UK retail sales of leading brands in frozen ready meals, by value, 2020/21* and 2021/22**
    • Vegan claims continue on upward trajectory
    • Popular high-street restaurants enter retail space
    • Healthier options are still key area of NPD
    • Adspend continues on upward trend in 2021
    • The consumer
    • 88% of people eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods; overall usage highest amongst younger demographics
      • Figure 6: Types of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods eaten, 2020-22
    • Only a minority eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods frequently
      • Figure 7: Frequency of eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Time saved from not cooking from scratch remains key selling point; visible healthy ingredients popular with 29%
      • Figure 8: Choice factors in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Shelf-stable, vegetable-based ready meals from familiar brands appeal to 48%
      • Figure 9: Behaviours related to ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Family-size ready meals/ready-to-cook foods would appeal to a third; 1 in 4 would like to see meals replace some of their animal protein with plant ingredients
      • Figure 10: Concepts of interest in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Greater transparency would boost trust in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods; meal bundles with unprepared sides appeal to nearly half
      • Figure 11: Attitudes towards ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
  3. Issues and Insights

    • Shelf-stable, vegetable-based ready meals from familiar brands appeal to 48%
    • Greater transparency would boost trust in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
    • Visible healthy ingredients popular with 29%
  4. Market Size and Performance

    • Value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods bounce back in 2021
      • Figure 12: UK retail value and volume sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2017-22
  5. Market Forecast

    • The five-year outlook for ready meals and ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 13: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Income squeeze will offer ongoing support to the ready meals/ready-to-cook foods market
    • Return of foodservice competition, long-term focus on health and ageing population will chip away at volume sales from 2024
      • Figure 14: Market forecast for retail value sales of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2017-27
      • Figure 15: Market forecast for retail volume sales of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2017-27
    • Learnings from the last income squeeze
      • Figure 16: UK retail value sales of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, by segment, 2010-14
    • Forecast methodology
  6. Market Segmentation

    • Chilled ready meals buck overall decline trend in 2021
    • Ambient ready meals see slight decline in 2021
    • High inflation will underpin value sales in 2022
      • Figure 17: UK retail value and volume sales and shares of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, by segment, 2020-22
  7. Market Drivers

    • HFSS volume promotions ban postponed until October 2023
    • Out-of-home foodservice calorie labelling comes into force
    • Government launches new Better Health campaign
    • On-pack nutrition label consultation proposed
    • 2024 salt reduction targets still in place
    • Health continues to be a key focus
    • Household incomes under pressure on several fronts
    • Income squeeze will slow return to foodservice meals post-COVID-19
    • …as well as within the category itself
    • Price of ready-made meals rising faster than overall food and foodservice inflation
      • Figure 18: Consumer Price Index annual rate of ready-made meals, food and restaurants & cafes, 2015-22
    • Strong image of scratch cooking as a way to save money threatens ready meals’ volume growth
    • Sustainability predicted to be a higher priority going forward
    • Ready meal/ready-to-cook food brands need to respond to growing flexitarian trend
    • Employment has held up better than expected
    • Those in full-time employment more likely to eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 19: Eating of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods at least once a week, by employment status, 2022
    • More flexible working will continue to undermine the value of the convenience proposition of these foods going forward
    • Aligning with at-home lunch priorities needed to unlock the occasion
    • Ageing population points to need to respond to key interests of older demographics
      • Figure 20: Trends in UK population, by age, 2016-21 and 2021-26
  8. Market Share

    • Charlie Bigham’s continues to build on COVID-19 boost
      • Figure 21: UK retail sales of leading brands in chilled ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
    • Own-label retains majority share in frozen ready meals
      • Figure 22: UK retail sales of leading brands in frozen ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
    • Own-label ready-to-cook foods see reversal of fortunes
      • Figure 23: UK retail sales of leading brands in ready-to-cook foods, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
    • Little movement in ambient ready meals
      • Figure 24: UK retail sales of leading brands in ambient ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
  9. Launch Activity and Innovation

    • Vegan claims continue on upward trajectory
      • Figure 25: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making vegan/no animal ingredient or vegetarian claims, 2017-22
    • Morrisons launches Plant Revolution; Lidl and M&S expand vegan offerings
      • Figure 26: Morrisons and Lidl roll out new vegan/plant-based ranges, 2021-22
    • Tesco launches new ready meals with Beyond Meat; Bosh! partners with Morrisons
    • Ambient is hive of plant-based activity in 2021
    • Princes launches significant plant-based NPD
      • Figure 27: Plot 9, Branston and Veetee enter ambient plant-based ready meals space, 2021
    • Veetee expands into ready meal space for the first time
    • Popular high-street restaurants enter retail space
      • Figure 28: Recent examples of foodservice brands entering ready meals/ready-to-cook foods space – 2021-22
    • Iceland continues to launch exclusive collaborations with well-known brands
      • Figure 29: Iceland launches exclusive collaborations with Chiquito and Cathedral City, 2021-22
    • Amazon enters category; Mindful Chef expands into chilled ready meals
      • Figure 30: Recent ready meal launches from Amazon and Mindful Chef, 2021
    • M&S launches ‘the love child of a ready meal and a salad’…
      • Figure 31: M&S announces launch of new ready meal concept, 2022
    • …and a 10 Minute Meal for 2
      • Figure 32: M&S launches 10 minute meals for 2 and relaunches children’s range, 2021-22
    • Healthier options are still key area of NPD
    • Bisto and Sharwood’s add to their frozen meal portfolio
    • The Gym Kitchen secures listing for frozen ready meals in Tesco
      • Figure 33: The Gym Kitchen launches ready meals into Tesco, 2022
    • Sustainable claims continue to grow
      • Figure 34: New product launches in the UK ready meals and ready-to-cook foods market making selected ethical claims, 2017-22
    • Wild Hare makes sustainability credentials prominent in on-pack messaging
      • Figure 35: Wild Hare British ready meals making sustainability related claims, 2021-22
  10. Advertising and Marketing Activity

    • Adspend continues on upward trend in 2021
    • M&S supports extension of Plant Kitchen in January 2022
      • Figure 36: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on ready meals*, by advertiser, 2019-22
    • New rules on the advertising of HFSS food and drink delayed to 2024
    • Restrictions will have limited impact on visibility of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
  11. Usage of Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • 88% of people eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 37: Types of ready meals and ready-to-cook foods eaten, 2020-22
    • Chilled ready meals are most popular…
    • …whilst usage of non-chilled/-frozen meals continues to grow
    • Only a minority eat ready meals/ready-to-cook foods frequently
      • Figure 38: Frequency of eating ready meals and ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Younger demographics eat all ready meal types most often
      • Figure 39: Frequency of eating ready meals, by type, by age, 2022
  12. Choice Factors in Ready Meals and Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Time saved from not cooking from scratch remains key selling point
      • Figure 40: Choice factors in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Scope to leverage slow-cooked call-outs beyond premium segment
      • Figure 41: Tesco slow-cooked shawarma style chicken – UK, 2022
      • Figure 42: Recent examples of ready meals calling out the amount of hours they have been cooked for, 2021-22
    • Emphasising the ‘hassle’ of cooking from scratch can also tap into desire to save time
    • A quarter would choose a dish that would be expensive to cook from scratch
      • Figure 43: Taste the Difference makes exotic ingredients central to packaging design, 2021
    • Calling out avoiding food waste can boost value and sustainability credentials
    • Visible healthy ingredients popular with 29%
    • Little overlap between interest in healthy ingredients and other healthy attributes
    • Brands can take cues from BOL as frontrunner in exploring ingredient visibility
      • Figure 44: Recent examples of BOL products with healthy ingredients visible, 2021-22
    • M&S makes visible healthy ingredients central to new 10 Minute Meals for 2
      • Figure 45: M&S 10 minute meals for 2 making its healthy ingredients visible, 2022
  13. Behaviours Related to Ready Meals/Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Shelf-stable, vegetable-based ready meals from familiar brands appeal to 48%
      • Figure 46: Behaviours related to ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Well-known shelf-stable brands already exploring vegetable-based ready meals
      • Figure 47: Examples of well-known shelf-stable brands exploring vegetable-based meals, 2021-22
    • Trust enjoyed by long-standing shelf-stable brands will help lower barriers to trial….
    • …but driving awareness beyond existing ambient fans is a barrier
    • Shelf-stable products can highlight non-plastic packaging to their advantage
      • Figure 48: Recent examples of ready meals and liquid stocks using non-plastic packaging, 2021
    • Supermarkets can boost their value-for-money image by bolstering visibility of frozen ready meals…
    • Disrupt normal shopping behaviours through prompts online…
    • …and increase in-store visibility to build awareness of frozen ready meals
    • …and tap into flexitarian trend by ensuring shoppers find plant-based variants
      • Figure 49: Recent examples of own-label plant-based ranges mirroring popular meat-containing ready meals, 2022
      • Figure 50: Recent examples of inherently vegan/vegetarian ready meals, 2021-22
  14. Concepts of Interest in Ready Meals/Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Family-size ready meals/ready-to-cook foods would appeal to a third
      • Figure 51: Concepts of interest in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Greater transparency can help to combat concerns about meals being processed
      • Figure 52: Iceland peri-peri chicken stir fry positioned for heating on the hob, 2021
      • Figure 53: Alvalle Gazpacho Verde providing images of its ingredients, 2021
    • 1 in 4 would like to see meals replace some of their animal protein with plant ingredients
    • Ready meals/ready-to-cook foods traditionally made with mince lend themselves to a Meat & Veg format…
    • …whilst ‘better for you, better for the planet’ messaging can help to build associations with wider sustainability trend
      • Figure 54: Applegate Well Carved calling out health and environmental benefits, 2020
  15. Attitudes towards Ready Meals/Ready-to-Cook Foods

    • Greater transparency would boost trust in ready meals/ready-to-cook foods
      • Figure 55: Attitudes towards ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2022
    • Demonstrating willingness to ‘lift the curtain’ on production will reassure…
    • …whilst details of how meals can be made from scratch can boost convenience credentials
    • Meal bundles with unprepared sides appeal to nearly half
    • Meal bundles with unprepared sides can offer a compromise between convenience and cooking from scratch
    • Unprepared sides can allay guilt of parents not cooking from scratch
  16. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
    • Consumer research methodology
  17. Appendix: Forecast Methodology

    • Market forecast and prediction intervals
      • Figure 56: Market forecast and prediction intervals for UK value sales of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2021-26
      • Figure 57: Market forecast and prediction intervals for UK volume sales of ready meals/ready-to-cook foods, 2021-26
    • Market drivers and assumptions
    • Forecast methodology
  18. Appendix: Market Share

      • Figure 58: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in chilled ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
      • Figure 59: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in frozen ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
      • Figure 60: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in ready-to-cook foods, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22
      • Figure 61: UK retail sales of leading manufacturers in ambient ready meals, by value and volume, 2019/20-2021/22

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