Convenience is an increasingly important key driver in the European food industry. Even in more traditional European markets, culinary traditions are slowly evolving in favor of convenience foods. Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with longer working hours and are therefore time-pressed, driving interest in quick meal solutions.
This is especially the case during the working week. For example, according to Mintel’s research around four in 10 French, German and Polish consumers now claim to choose easy, quick-to-prepare food for weekday evening meals. Younger consumers especially are embracing value-added product formats such as ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals. Growth in single-person households in most European countries is also driving demand for easy-to-prepare products requiring little preparation time.
In France, for example, despite a rich culinary heritage, two-thirds of consumers now claim to look for easy-to-prepare products when purchasing meat and poultry products, rising to 70% of 25-34 year olds. Usage of breaded, battered, marinated, glazed and seasoned meat, poultry and seafood is already relatively high in France, with consumers more likely than their European counterparts to eat these types of convenience products.
Frozen convenience food needs to step up
Interestingly, despite the strength of the chilled convenience segment in markets like the UK, and its fast growth in many other European markets such as France and Germa...