Ready Meals market in France is stable at 16% of the European Ready Meals market and has had a positive development over the past 5 years. Starting with the classic French “cassoulet” and finishing with the exquisite “fondue”, the French consumer is spoiled for choice in the supermarkets. Ready meals in France are the 4th largest of the West European markets and continue to play an important role in the EU market development.
The producers of ready meals are facing two challenges: meet the expectations of the young generation and the critical mass economical requirements. Frozen ready meals continue to lead the market as the French consumer view it safe and convenient. However, the ‘box’ concept is increasingly gaining traction and in particular in the chilled counter. Young consumers are more and more attracted to bio and ethnic concepts, in addition to preferring ‘everything in one box’ and at ambient temperature. ‘Nomadism’ is a new social trend increasingly impacting the food consumption preferences; the young increasingly buy simple products in a box format which can be consumed wherever and whenever.
The Italian market is impacting the French market to a considerable degree; for example the sustained penetration of the frozen pizza segment, the most dynamic segment since the mid-2000 until recently. Frozen pizza retains the top spot in the ready meals market according to Food For Thought FFT, but the producers are increasingly challenged to come up with new ingredients and new formats, such as diet, gluten-free, with bio ingredients, vegan, premium with seafood, etc.
Own-label is a very profitable segment of the ready meals category. The retailers’ message to the consumer is simple: affordable and healthy meal for everyone.
Associated industries have also jumped on the band-wagon and cooking devices are increasingly adapted to the consumption of ready meals. Even the producers of white-goods now develop their products bearing in mind the growing consumption of ready-meals.
Two sub-segments of the ready meals market, dehydrated and canned, will continue to remain out of favor in France and lose even more market share.