In a new report, Canadean claims that consumers increasingly value convenience and practicality as they see eating as a task to fit into their hectic lives. Therefore, the prepared meals sector has remained one of the top-selling food categories in France, in terms of both value and volume, and the market researcher expects it to grow by 3.6% a year in value terms and 3.3% a year in volume terms up to 2017.
Ready meals represented the largest share of the category last year (77%), and this trend is also set to continue. Pizza is the second most popular choice in the prepared meals sector, with a 21% share by value, while the meal kits category – in which consumers follow instructions that combine fresh, prepared and packaged ingredients – is the smallest. Even with expected growth, “the share and volume for the meal kits category continues to be minimal”, Canadean said.
Meal kits more promising in Germany
In Germany, the popularity of meal kits is much greater, and the category is growing at a faster rate than either ready meals or pizza – the top two prepared meals categories.
Ready meals in Germany account for 62% of the prepared meals sector by value and 64% by volume – but their growth is expected to lag behind that of meal kits over the next few years as awareness of the meal kit concept continues to grow. That said, meal kits still only represented 1.6% of the prepared meals category by value and 1.4% by value in Germany in 2012.
Pizza in Germany holds 36% share of the prepared meals sector by value, and a 34.4% share by volume. However, it is expected to have the slowest growth over the next five years, according to Canadean.
An alternative to eating out
In Spain, where the economy has been particularly hard hit, the market researcher still expects to see “marginal growth” in the prepared meals sector.
“Spanish consumers are now turning to prepared meals, recording the third-fastest growth rate among food sectors between 2012 and 2017,” Canadean said. “They offer consumers an affordable alternative to eating out.”