Ready meals continued to be embraced in South Africa for their convenience, especially among consumers with busy lifestyles. Nonetheless, the relatively high prices of most ready meals limit their appeal to only the wealthier demographics in the country, who embrace these products for their high quality and convenience.
Chilled ready meals recorded the strongest current value growth in 2018 and during the review period. Sales benefit from these products being perceived as healthier than others; however, as they carry the highest unit prices, they appeal only to a small number of customers, as well as health-conscious consumers.
South Africa’s economy continued to struggle to achieve growth in 2018, with high unemployment and a limited increase in disposable income mainly due to a fuel price rise and an increase in VAT for the first time in many years. As a result, many consumers continued to cut down on non-essential spending, having to focus their expenditure on products that were more essential.
Woolworths Holdings Ltd (South Africa) led ready meals in 2018, leading within chilled pizza, chilled ready meals and prepared salads. Variety and freshness are key to attracting consumers to ready meals.
Ready meals was dominated in 2018 by private label, which accounted for three quarters of all value sales. Many retailers expanded their lines within the category by offering products at different price points to cater to a wider audience.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.