Italian Ready Meals market is barely growing due to the entrenched tradition for domestic cooking. The annual growth rate for the past 5 years has been under 2%, with Italy accounting for under 10% of the European Ready Meals Market.
Italians themselves are not particularly fond of ready meals, nevertheless Italian solutions are a leading driver of the European ready meals market, and in particular so in frozen pizza.
Frozen ready meals represents almost half of the Italian ready meals sector, with Minestrone, risotto, pasta and lasagna among the most common dishes. There is a great variety of ready meals available in the retail market, and increasingly suppliers try to introduce ready meal variants of home cooking dishes, such as zuppa tradizionale or tagliatelle with a variety of sauces.
Dehydrated ready meals is a sector little developed in Europe in general and in Italy in particular. Demand for dehydrated ready meals in Italy is about 10x lower than in Germany for example.
Chilled ready meals enjoy a relatively high demand in Italy. For example chilled antipasti dishes are popular, as well as pesto and various salads are positively impacting this particular segment.
We have also noticed increasing demand for vegetarian varieties of traditional recipes.
Other interesting transformations we have seen is to replace Mozzarella cheese with tofu and to make Bolognese pasta sauce based on soja balls.
All in all, Italy remains a rather traditional in its demand for ready meals and exotic dishes, such as for example Asian ones, make little inroads.