Ready meals saw more dynamic growth in the Italian retail volume terms in 2017 compared to the CAGR seen over the review period, increasing by 3%, according to Euromonitor International
Meanwhile, growth was more moderate in current value terms in light of the strong promotional activity implemented by large grocery retailers within all food categories as they looked to drive traffic to their stores. In the foodservice channel, on the contrary, consumption of ready meals saw slower growth in volume terms in 2017 as consumers increasingly favored freshly-made products that are considered healthier.
The most dynamic category in 2017 was frozen pizza, up by 5% in both current value and retail volume terms. Frozen pizza is increasingly outperforming chilled pizza in large retailers, given that it is easier to store as it has a longer shelf life. The presence of chilled pizza is in fact minimal and it is limited to local brands to ensure faster replenishment on shelves in line with consumer consumption trends. In the case of frozen pizza, innovation in terms of toppings, dough, shape and size was instrumental to growth in sales.
The average unit price of ready meals declined in 2017 due to the strong promotional activity which included the lowering of prices by all large grocery retailers. These retailers struggled to maintain traffic in their stores during the recession, with many consumers shifting from supermarkets and hypermarkets to the discounters channel which is increasing its presence in terms of number of outlets, and these stores are improving their offer in terms of showcasing more products from big brands than before.
You can find more information on the Italian frozen food market in the next print issue of Frozen Food Europe magazine.