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UK ready meal market led by Italian as the favourite style

Press Release   •   Feb 04, 2013 10:57 GMT

The UK ready meal market was valued at £1.85 billion, after growing by 6.6% year on year in 2011.

The industry can be divided into two principle sub-categories: chilled ready meals; and frozen ready meals. In recent times, however, there has been a shift away from the traditional perception of ready meals -- otherwise known as TV dinners -- towards a more conventional concept of a meal adapted to suit consumers' increasingly busy lifestyles.

Ready meals have been reinvented to respond to the changing needs of consumers amid the economic crisis.

Innovation has additionally played an important role in the industry in recent years. Manufacturers are expanding their portfolios to include exciting and exotic dishes that are not traditionally found within the ready meals industry. In 2011, Italian overtook English to become the favourite style of ready meal in the UK.

Spicier cuisines such as Mexican and Spanish, as well as renowned types, including French, are also gaining popularity in the market. Flavour innovation offers consumers greater options when buying ready meals; moreover, it means that consumers can try a different variety of meal every day of the week without having to leave the house.

There were around 621 local companies operating in the United Kingdom ready meals market in 2012, mainly dominated by the largest companies.

Producers with more than 250 employees generated 80% of total turnover in 2012. The major players in the industry were Premier Foods Group Ltd, HJ Heinz Co Ltd, Unilever Foods UK Ltd, 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd and Kerry Foods Ltd.

Own-label products continue to dominate the ready meals market, however, it was branded meals that were better able to respond to the demand for these types of products in 2011. Consumers are willing to pay extra for a perceived level of superior quality, which has helped drive value and volume sales of branded products.

For more information on the UK ready meal market, see the latest research: UK Ready Meal Market

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