On the whole, ready meals has seen accelerated growth in 2020 because of consumers’ response to the lockdown, with stockpiling common amid large numbers of people working and studying from home. The convenient nature of ready meals has been popular among busy families with their normal routines disrupted.
As the snacking trend continues to develop in Canada, intensified by home seclusion during the pandemic, the lines between various eating occasions are becoming blurred. Increasingly, the traditional adherence to a structured eating routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner with perhaps one or two snacks in between is giving way to the tendency for people to eat whenever they feel hungry.
Nestlé Canada is maintaining its strong lead in ready meals in 2020 due to the enduring popularity of its Stouffer’s brand in frozen ready meals. Stouffer’s has long been the most popular ready meals brand in Canada and has gained many consumers’ trust for its consistently high quality, which is even more important amid the pandemic as consumers rationalise their choice of brand in a context of falling purchasing power.
Having overperformed in 2020 because of the panic-buying and foodservice outlets closing, ready meals is poised for a modest volume sales decline in 2021. However, those categories that have struggled because of lower store footfall, shopping frequency and other disruptions – chilled pizza, chilled ready meals and prepared salads – are poised to rebound as shopping patterns begin to more closely resemble those established pre-pandemic.
While its volume growth will decelerate from that seen in 2020 and other recent years, dinner mixes is set to register a further strong performance over the forecast period. However, it should be noted that dinner mixes is increasingly becoming a two-speed category.
Having recorded unexpected high sales growth from consumer stockpiling in 2020 thanks to their product longevity, shelf stable ready meals and dried ready meals are predicted to decline consistently over the forecast period, mainly due to the unfashionable image that each of these categories has developed in recent years. Chief among the reasons for the image problems that these categories are experiencing is rising health-consciousness, elevated further by the pandemic, which will discourage many consumers from purchasing products that are seen as high in artificial ingredients, notably preservatives and colourings.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Ready Meals industry in Canada 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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