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Ready Meals in Eastern Europe

November 2019

Stagnating over 2014-2019, ready meals in Eastern Europe maintains strong potential for growth. Despite strong reliance on traditional products, such as pelmeni and pierogi, opportunities for development extend to all ready meals categories. It is expected to be common for ready meals to reposition as healthier and more premium, and to expand in terms of the product assortment.

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Key Findings

Traditional frozen products are the basis of ready meals in the region

Ready meals in Eastern Europe is heavily dominated by frozen ready meals. Traditional for most countries in the region, different variations of dumplings, such as pelmeni, vareniki, pierogi, gombóc and others, remain at the core of the category. While national products are more common, the introduction of more exotic products, alongside continuous new product development, is supporting the performance of this mature category.

Macroeconomic factors limit growth

Economic downturn, which began in Russia and Ukraine at the end of 2014, seriously hampered the development of ready meals. Declining consumer purchasing power in both countries forced a reduction in the consumption of ready meals and a switch from more convenient to more affordable options.

Modern retail development paves the way for growth in ready meals

The development of modern retail in the region had a notable impact on the growth of ready meals. Apart from ample refrigeration facilities, necessary for the storage of chilled and frozen ready meals, modern retailers have actively engaged in the creation of private label ready meals.

Opportunities for new players

The competitive environment in ready meals allows for the successful performance of new entrants and smaller players through exploring new emerging categories. Even in the mature frozen ready meals category fragmentation is rather high, and continuous successful new product launches are constantly seen.

Growth expected across all categories

Ready meals is forecast to see value growth in Eastern Europe. There is strong potential for less developed categories, such as chilled ready meals and prepared salads, due to their association with health and wellness trends. However, even the core frozen ready meals category is set to see further expansion.



Key findings

Regional Overview

Ready meals stagnates in Eastern Europe in value terms
Economic downturn in major markets slows growth
Frozen ready meals sees value decline in Russia and Ukraine
Frozen pizza drives growth
Ready meals sees growth in most countries in the region
Decline in frozen ready meals drags down growth in the category
Ready meals assortment becomes more diverse
Modern retail dominates sales of ready meals in the region
Retailers directly engage in ready meals, launching their own products

Leading Companies and Brands

Ready meals has opportunities for smaller players
ABI Product takes the lead with its wide product portfolio
Major players operating in Russia lead at the regional level
Ready meals is highly fragmented

Forecast Projections

Bright prospects for the development of ready meals in the region
Growth is forecast across all ready meals categories
GDP growth will offset the negative demographic effects
Broader adoption of a health and wellness positioning is anticipated

Country Snapshots

Russia: market context
Russia: competitive and retail landscape
Poland: market context
Poland: competitive and retail landscape
Ukraine: market context
Ukraine: competitive and retail landscape
Czech Republic: market context
Czech Republic: competitive and retail landscape
Hungary: market context
Hungary: competitive and retail landscape
Belarus: market context
Belarus: competitive and retail landscape
Lithuania: market context
Lithuania: competitive and retail landscape
Romania: market context
Romania: competitive and retail landscape
Slovakia: market context
Slovakia: competitive and retail landscape
Latvia: market context
Latvia: competitive and retail landscape
Slovenia: market context
Slovenia: competitive and retail landscape
Croatia: market context
Croatia: competitive and retail landscape
Estonia: market context
Estonia: competitive and retail landscape
Georgia: market context
Georgia: competitive and retail landscape
Serbia: market context
Serbia: competitive and retail landscape
Bulgaria: market context
Bulgaria: competitive and retail landscape
Bosnia and Herzegovina: market context
Bosnia and Herzegovina: competitive and retail landscape
North Macedonia: market context
North Macedonia: competitive and retail landscape


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