By Joana Sokolnik, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International
According to Euromonitor International ready meals in Europe will post retail value CAGR of 2% at constant 2017 prices over the forecast period reaching EUR30.2 billion in 2022. While increasingly hectic lifestyles of Europeans, improving economies and growing number of single person households will be important drivers of purchasing convenient food solutions, there are some more actions to be considered in adding more value to consumers. For example, it can be done by responding to the increasing overlap between snacking occasions and meals in eating habits. Manufacturers should seek to adapt more of their offers with ready meals suitable for on-the-go consumption at the same time being more nutritious and healthies snacks. Another important step is tapping into foodservice demand, particularly for pizza, and competing against take-away foodservice. This also feeds demand for more “authentic” and regional recipes, and for greater ingredient traceability. Speaking about the competition with takeaways, there is an opportunity for the retailers for further development and improvement of their online offers. Finally, ready meals should embrace all the opportunities in the vegetarian segment by strengthening their positioning in the niche through dedicated premium ranges. The rapid increase in the number of flexitarians across Europe, who actively reduce meet consumption, gives a lot of opportunities also for the meat substitute companies with strong vegetarian credentials to boost their presence in ready meals.
Results from the Global Consumer Trends surveys conducted by Euromonitor International confirm that a growing number of people around the world choose not to prepare a meal from scratch but rather go for pre-prepared options. In 2013, 20% of consumers globally ate ready meals at home at least 1-2 times per week. In 2017 this number increased to 27%. Looking at European countries, 29% of consumers in United Kingdom, around 24% in Germany, Poland and Russia and 20% of consumers in France, declared eating ready meal at the same frequency. Even more interesting might be to learn that for example about 24% of respondents in Russia, 18% in Poland and 14% Germany chose to eat ready meals at home almost every day. Unsurprisingly, lack of time to cook, convenience over preparing a meal from scratch, willingness to spend time doing other things than cooking and affordability were indicated as the main reasons to eat ready meals by the survey respondents. Let us have a closer look at European ready meals market to see its main heavy weights and trends as well as opportunities for the future.
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