Consumers, who earn between £20,300 and £32,100 a year, dominate the prepared meals market, as they are looking for a convenient and luxurious alternative to home cooking and restaurant dining, finds new report by Canadean.
Traditionally, prepared meals were cheap, convenient meals for busy, low income consumers. But this is about to change: Canadean's research shows that the gap between the consumption of prepared meals in the richest and poorest 50% of households is closing, with 48.3% of the richest and 51.7% of the poorest consuming prepared meals regularly. Better-earning consumers are constantly feeling like they are short on time. This is why they want to reduce hours spent on activities, such as cooking, in order to free up a slot on their calendars to relax and unwind. However, these consumers still want a luxury meal to indulge and enhance moments of personal time, owing to the pressures and stresses from work. Consumers are looking towards premium prepared meals which provide a fine dining experience without having to leave the house.
Brands offer consumers a restaurant experience at home
Cashing in on the need for indulgent meals at home, premium private label brands began offering consumers luxury ready meals, promising a restaurant style dining experience. This trend started during the recession, when consumers were unable to afford eating out regularly, and were instead willing to trade up for the occasional luxury ready meal treat. Despite the economic crisis levelling out, this development is set to continue. Joanne Hardman, analyst at Canadean, says: "Meal deals have been successful, as have offers such as the 'Dine in for Two' from Marks & Spencer, which targets couples without children who desire a luxury restaurant experience in the comfort of their own homes. Included in these deals is a bottle of wine, so consumers can reward themselves with an indulgent meal without having to spend money on eating out."