THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Sports & Leisure
The Papers
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
UK's £2 billion ready meal market slows

A new study has revealed a slowdown in the growth of the ready meal market which started even before the emergence of the horse meat scandal this year.


UK's £2 billion ready meal market slows

A new study has revealed a slowdown in the growth of the ready meal market which started even before the emergence of the horse meat scandal this year.

With sales of over £2 billion in 2012, the market for ready meals has been a high growth category driven by consumers’ appetite for convenience and value for money.

However, recent analysis of in-market measurement data by Symphony IRI Group has shown that value sales growth of the total ready meal market dipped to around 1% in November and December 2012 and began to fall below 2012 levels in January 2013.  In the two weeks ending 23 February, year-on-year growth dropped by as much as 5% driven by a 13% reduction in the frozen sector and a 3% fall  chilled sector largely as a result of the horse meat scandal.

The number of packs of chilled ready meals sold was down by an average of 2% in the four weeks to 23 February 2013. However, the biggest decline was seen in frozen ready meals, down by 14% in packs sold for the week ended 23 February compared to the same week in 2012.  

Symphony IRI Group has recorded a decline in the sales of frozen ready meals in the UK over the last three years – down from 295 million sold in 2010 to just under 271 million in 2012.

Tim Eales director of strategic insight at Symphony IRI group explained: "We were seeing signs of a cold wind blowing through the frozen ready meal market even before the horse meat scandal as pressure on cash-strapped consumers’ increases.

"In 2012 shoppers bought no more packaged groceries than in 2011 but had to pay close to £2 billion more for them. So now, even some of the fastest growing categories are struggling and the horse meat scandal has added to this demise. History suggests, however, that our memories are short and so it should not take long for the effects of the latest revelations to fade away."

Symphony IRI Group’s  latest survey of shoppers across Europe conducted at the end of 2012, found that 65% shoppers in the UK wanted to buy less ready-made food, thereby highlighting the fact that consumers have been paying attention to where their food comes from for some time. 


Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News


Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Conference
The HR Summit 2019
The HR Summit 2019
8 October 2019
Hallam Conference Centre, London W1W 6JJ
The 11th HR Summit 2019, Hallam Conference Centre, 44 Hallam St, Marylebone, London W1W 6JJ
AI in Retail Conference 2019
AI in Retail Conference 2019
16 October 2019
Cavendish Conference Center, London W1G 9DT
Digitally native competitors and demanding customers are forcing a new perspective in retail. AI and machine learning can help you step up to the challenges; and some ‘small and beautiful’ solutions can increase your conversion rates within just a few weeks.
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2020
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2020
5 February 2020
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy