Published On: 06/07/20202.6 min read
UK Ready Meals 2019 Market Review

The chilled and frozen ready meals market have both suffered a decline in sales performance, according to The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2019.

Poor sales uptake and price drops have largely contributed to 2019’s disappointing performance statistics. But ‘ambient’ ready meals have performed more positively.

Ambient food sales featuring exotic flavours and Asian ingredients are up from the previous year – a clear indication of the changing tastes of consumers.

The total chilled ready meals market is worth £1.9 billion, but is down -1.2% from the previous year. The frozen ready meals market is worth £382 million and has suffered a similar drop: -1.3% total volume change.

In contrast, ambient ready meals have seen a £4.4 million upturn in sales in 2019 – a 2.2% increase. Innovative flavours have been instrumental to this performance.

UK Frozen Meal / Ready Meal Top Performing Brands

Innovative flavours have buoyed the market

It is no secret that the rollout of exciting new flavours has boosted the market performance of ambient ready meals.

New taste sensations and bold, enticing packaging to tempt consumers to try the new flavours has worked extremely well.

Pot Noodle’s Asian Street Style brand was the biggest-selling product in the ambient ready meals range, amassing a whopping £114.5 million in sales during 2019. Competitors have also seen positive growth in an otherwise sluggish market.

John West’s ambient range witnessed a 19% increase in sales from the previous year. Brands like Cracker Toppers, Steam Pot with Tuna Infusions, and John West Creations appeal to a wide range of demographics.

The Gressingham Foods brand in the chilled category had a 59% sales boost. This, along with Charlie Bigham’s, was one of the few highly performing companies. Innovative ingredients and targeting specific market segments has been crucial.

Slimming World in the frozen category performed reasonably well with a 5.2% boost in sales, while Bisto’s range from Kerry Foods did better with a 16.1% increase.

The overall market change of -1.2% for chilled and -1.3% for frozen ready meals will certainly give brands something to think about if they are to make a positive return.

Quorn: the perfect example of a successful ambient range

Quorn’s ambient food range, originally launched in June 2019, has gone from strength to strength as the brand diversified and adapted to a changing market.

Consisting of Thai Style Wonder Grains, Quorn Biryani Bowl, and Mediterranean Wonder Grains, the range provides high-protein soya mince with in-demand exotic flavouring.

And with a 12-month shelf life, these ‘stir and eat’ lines appeal to busy people on the go who need a nutritious meal that takes minutes to prepare.

Smylies stock a wide range of Quorn available for import.

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