Value sales of ready meals are experiencing a sharp rise in 2020 as a result of consumers spending more time at home and, in turn, eating more meals at home, first as a result of the lockdown in the early months of the year and later due to other pandemic-related restrictions, including the closure of foodservice outlets. Stockpiling early in the year, particularly the stockpiling of shelf stable ready meals and frozen ready meals, is expected to result in an increase in value sales by the end of 2020.
Although Austrian consumers continue to embrace the convenience of conventional ready meals, a considerable number have been craving ‘better,’ healthier meals that can still save them shopping and preparation time. This has been especially evident during the pandemic-related lockdown and continues through subsequent periods when consumers are choosing to consume meals more frequently at home.
The competitive landscape of the ready meals category is somewhat fragmented, with only the two top leaders amongst many players set to hold double-digit value share in 2020. Competition continues to intensify, especially in light of the strong growth seen in 2020 as a result of more consumers being ensconced at home demanding convenient meal solutions.
Value sales at 2020 constant prices of ready meals are expected to decline slightly in 2021 as Austrians hold off on buying new ready meals until they have finally consumed the supplies that they accumulated at home during the pandemic. In addition, as restaurants and other foodservice establishments begin to open and normalise their services, Austrians will, at least for a brief period, dine out more often, lessening demand for ready meals at home.
Traditionally, ready meals have been largely perceived as unhealthy, but the efforts of players to address the growing demand for healthier but still convenient at-home meal solutions has changed that perception significantly and that is expected to continue apace over the forecast period. This shift has been particularly apparent in the reformulation of dried ready meals, with players increasingly moving towards the use of more natural ingredients.
In additional to healthier ready meals, consumers are expected to drive increased demand for fresher ready meals over the forecast period. This shift is expected to be evident in the projected CAGRs of chilled ready meals and chilled pizza over the forecast period being significantly higher than the projected CAGRs of frozen ready meals and frozen pizza.
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This report originates from Passport, our Ready Meals research and analysis database.
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