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Ready Meals in Western Europe

April 2020

Market maturity is likely to limit the growth of ready meals in Western Europe, however there is still potential to increase per capita spend. In biggest markets premiumisation via subscription models, as well as catering to a growing number of flexitarians and vegetarians will be a key to sustaining growth. In less developed markets, brands have a potential to grow sales by familiarising consumers with ready meals by offering convenient solutions for traditional dishes.

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Key findings

Convenience continues to attract consumers

Convenience remains the driving factor behind the purchase of ready meals. New models such as meal kits bring convenience into home cooking which have proven to be a success among the less price-sensitive consumers. Within frozen meals, the convenience element is spurred by affordable pricing, which gives frozen ready meals a competitive edge over foodservice.

Health and minimal processing are in demand

Prepared salads and chilled ready meals drive growth of the overall category. New developments of vegan and vegetarian meals bring additional popularity to these subcategories, as the number of flexitarians grows in Western Europe. As consumers look for healthier options, the nutri-score introduced in some European countries should help navigate their choice.

Established markets gain interest in exotic cuisines, while emerging markets stick to local traditions

Players in mature markets, such as the UK, boost growth through offering exotic meals to maintain consumers’ interest, on the other hand in countries where ready meals are less common, such as Turkey, it is the traditional dishes that attract the attention of consumers.

Western Europe has room to grow in ready meals

Despite the fact that the category is relatively mature, it still has not reached the per capita spend of North America and Australasia, and is forecast to grow in the region mainly based on GDP, population increase and consumer habit, as well as increasing variety and availability.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Limited historic growth, but room for higher per capita spend
As ready meals reaches maturity, sales dynamics set to slow down
Fresh image of chilled ready meals increasingly appeals to consumers
Meal kits bring additional convenience and drive growth of dinner mixes
In search of healthier diets, consumers shift to chilled ready meals
Consumers seek balance between health and convenience
Online sales are boosted by the dynamic meal kit category growth
Traditional retail maintains its lead despite increasing competition

Leading Companies and Brands

Northern European consumers prefer branded ready meals
Sodebo and Agrial Groupe grow despite share decline by other top 10
In ready meals, local players hold advantage over multinationals
Sodebo rises to third overtaking Ristorante and Fleury Michon

Forecast Projections

UK and France continue to grow, as growth stalls in Germany
Future sees slower dynamism, as category reaches maturity
Lifestyle trends and product variety contribute to predicted growth
Socioeconomic factors and habit persistence expected to drive growth

Country Snapshots

Austria: market context
Austria: competitive and retail landscape
Belgium: market context
Belgium: competitive and retail landscape
Denmark: market context
Denmark: competitive and retail landscape
Finland: market context
Finland: competitive and retail landscape
France: market context
France: competitive and retail landscape
Germany: market context
Germany: competitive and retail landscape
Greece: market context
Greece: competitive and retail landscape
Ireland: market context
Ireland: competitive and retail landscape
Italy: market context
Italy: competitive and retail landscape
Netherlands: market context
Netherlands: competitive and retail landscape
Norway: market context
Norway: competitive and retail landscape
Portugal: market context
Portugal: competitive and retail landscape
Spain: market context
Spain: competitive and retail landscape
Sweden: market context
Sweden: competitive and retail landscape
Switzerland: market context
Switzerland: competitive and retail landscape
Turkey: market context
Turkey: competitive and retail landscape
UK: market context
UK: competitive and retail landscape

Appendix: Competitor Analytics

Competitor Analytics tool
Overview
Competitors
Market overlap
Treemap
Overlap matrices

Appendix: Industry Forecast Model

About Euromonitor International’s Industry Forecast Model
Soft drivers and the Industry Forecast Model
Growth decomposition explained
Significance and applications for growth decomposition
Key applications for Industry Forecast Models

Appendix: Via Pricing

About Via Pricing from Euromonitor International
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