Convenience Foods – “Premium” No Longer Leads

Convenience was the poster boy of the boom years when consumers were ‘cash rich and time poor’ and favored prepared foods and ready meals. With the economic downturn, baking, entertaining at home, and growing vegetables have become popular activities.

There is less demand for those expensive ready meals, but the basic staples, which are perceived as offering value for money, are still selling well in a recession. “We’ve seen consistent growth (in frozen food category) from March 2011,” said Brian Young, Director-General, British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), who explained that that was the start of the double dip in the UK economy. “So the economy was back in decline and frozen foods sales increased.”

In the UK annual sales of frozen foods grew in value 6.4% to £5.5bn to the year ended 2 September 2012. He explained that frozen foods are perceived as good value for money and less wasteful, so consumers changed from more expen­sive chilled products to better value for money frozen equivalents. “Growth in chilled has slowed down and growth in frozen has accelerated. There are several reasons; one is everybody is finding their disposable income is squeezed. They are managing their budgets more carefully than before. There is also a greater reali­zation that frozen food has locked in goodness and there are people like Jamie Oliver who is putting his name to some fish products this year,” said Brian Young. Although price has taken a hit in the downturn convenience is still in dem...

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