Summary of Food For Thought, Focus on European Ready Meals 2014, detailed ready meals market trends report.
The European ready meals market was valued at EUR30.5 billion in 2013, compared with EUR26.7 billion five years earlier. Retail expenditure takes the predominant 85% share of the market with foodservice expenditure taking the remaining 15% share. The total market is forecast to grow by 11.84% to reach EUR40.85 billion by 2016.
Ready meals sector in 2013 was dominated by three major countries in terms of overall expenditure, Germany, the UK and France, together accounting for over 60% of the total market. Spain took another 12% market share. All other European countries held under a 4% market share.
Frozen and chilled ready meals in 2013 formed the largest market segments of the total European ready meals market, together taking almost three quarters of the market in value terms. Frozen pizza accounted for almost another 14% share of the market, with canned ready meals taking a further 9% and dehydrated ready meals the remaining 4%. Over the five year period chilled ready meals showed the fastest rate of growth.
Food For Thought (FFT) forecasts that by 2016 the total European chilled ready meals sector will be worth EUR12.7 billion, an increase of 3.7% in real average annual % terms between 2013 and 2016. Frozen pizza will be worth an estimated EUR4.93 billion by 2016 showing 3.4% growth in real average annual % terms. The frozen ready meals sector is forecast to show real average annual % growth rates of 2.6% between 2013 and 2016 to reach EUR12.5 billion. In contrast, canned and dehydrated ready meals will show much lower rates of growth estimated at 1.9% and 1.3% respectively over the three year forecast period.
The major trends influencing innovation in the ready meals sector across Europe include:
– the push towards premiumisation
– the emphasis on health
– the introduction of more exotic recipes, a focus on provenance
– the influence of private label
Consumers are increasingly looking for premium ready meals which offer a quality dining experience without having to leave the house. There is also a demand for healthier ready meals as part of a balanced diet.
Quality marking and provenance labelling is becoming more important throughout Europe in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
FFT estimates that the leading 8 players in the European ready meals market accounted for 33% of total supply in 2013, leaving substantial potential for intensive M&A activity over the next few years. The leading supplier in 2013 was Nestle with an estimated 9.4% value share, followed by Permira with a 5.1% share and Dr Oetker with a 4.6 % share.