Convenience food is changing – the shifting tastes of UK consumers across the prepared food market.

In preparation for a meeting with OMD Finland and Atria, who are one of OMD Finland’s biggest clients and one of the largest meat producers in the region, OMD Insight pulled together an overview of the prepared foods category which has helped highlight the changing nature of the food market in the UK.

The last few years have seen a shift in our eating habits, fuelled by consumers becoming more health conscious and our growing demands on the ready meals category which are not currently meeting changing consumer needs.

According to Euromonitor, the prepared salads category overtook frozen ready meals in 2013 to become the second most valuable.  Most likely driven by our post-Olympic health kick, projections by Euromonitor show that prepared salads are now amongst the most dynamic prepared meal categories in the UK with a current value growth of 5% in 2017 and a ten-year projected growth rate of 64% by 2022 (based on current prices).  In comparison, the chilled ready meals market is expected to grow 43% by 2022.

So what’s behind this market growth?

One key driver is the premiumisation of the category, which is bringing in a new consumer base.  ‘Dine in deals’ popularized by M&S with their Dine in for Two for £10 promotion are now becoming a mass market with almost all major retailers having their own version of meal deals.

With the growth of new product developments within the ready meals category targeting premium buyers, manufacturers and retailers alike, there is a  realisation that more consumers are now willing to pay more for premium ready meals and are raising their game to meet growing expectations.

Meeting consumer demands on quality and price are the discounters.  Lidl launched its first-ever Valentine’s meal deal in 2018  and Aldi recently created its very own range of premium ready-made meals, which will be available all-year round and cost half the price of a branded competitor.


With economic uncertainty on the horizon, a large proportion of us have reduced the amount of money we spend on eating out.  The winners during the last recession were those to respond to a fall in consumer spending on socialising, by providing high-quality premium food at a low price.

Based on current market innovations and promotions, if Brexit does adversely impact the economy at least we will be well fed.


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