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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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