While most ready meals categories have recorded much improved demand in 2020, dinner mixes in particular have gained significantly in popularity due to the home cooking trend, which has arisen from COVID-19 lockdown and ongoing home seclusion in Australia. Meal kit players and brands such as General Mills, Marley Spoon and HelloFresh have been making gains within the category, as more consumers have switched from shopping in person to shopping online, given the lower risk of viral transmission.
As consumers become more adventurous and open to trying new cuisines, more international flavour options are being introduced into the ready meals category. Consistent growth is being seen within frozen ready meals, with products such as Mr Chen’s dumplings adding to the diversity of flavour profiles, while also adding value by meeting the demand for gluten-free and plant-based options.
The leading player in ready meals until 2020, McCain entered its 50th year in Australia in 2019. It has invested in a marketing campaign to be more emotive rather than being centred on its products, standing out against its competitors as a result.
Dinner mixes, along with several other types of ready meals, are poised for a decline in volume demand in 2021 as foodservice outlets have reopened and Australians are eating out again, albeit still wary of the threat of COVID-19. However, products within the dinner mixes category, often referred to as meal kits, have gradually become mainstream in Australia, riding on the demand for convenience from time-poor consumers and a desire to reduce food wastage.
Private label products have a high collective sales share within ready meals, and while their lower prices are likely to attract many consumers during the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic, the ranges are increasingly sophisticated. Woolworths has been launching new products across packaged food, but particularly focusing on ready meals and convenience.
While there was some stockpiling of shelf stable ready meals in 2020 thanks to their longevity, in general decline for them is waning as they often contain preservatives and artificial ingredients, which are unfavourably viewed by consumers. As such, chilled ready meals and frozen ready meals are set to keep growing at the expense of shelf-stable ready meals over the forecast period, due to their perceived freshness as well as a wider variety of healthier and plant-based options.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Ready Meals industry in Australia with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Ready Meals research and analysis database.
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