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Three tips to boost sales in the chilled ready meals category

The chilled ready meals category is as yet relatively new to the market. To increase its understanding of the consumer, foodtech company Micvac recently had a consumer survey conducted. The results contribute invaluable insights for suppliers in the category. Malin Brodén, Marketing Director at Micvac, outlines three of them here.

 The survey was conducted by Scandinavian Retail Center in Norstatpanel, on behalf of Micvac. The results show that chilled ready meals have almost as high a penetration as frozen. As many as 59 per cent of respondents eat fresh ready meals at least once a year, and one in four at least once a month. The survey also maps consumer habits and preferences, providing companies in the sector with valuable insights into a comparably young market category.

Riding the health wave

One of the most common barriers for consumers, that buy chilled ready meals less than once a year, is that they think the food feels unhealthy, not nutritious enough, or that it contains too many additives. Many of the people who already buy chilled ready meals say they would buy it more often if they could find healthier alternatives.

“This is well in line with the global health trend we’re seeing, and it’s high time that this trend is also reflected in this category. Producers could work more proactively with healthy niches and offer more vegetarian and vegan alternatives, for example. They could also include more vegetables generally, and declare the nutrition and vitamin content more clearly,” Malin Brodén explains.

Benefiting from the high impulse tendency

The results also show that there is a very high impulse tendency when it comes to purchasing chilled ready meals, with around 50 per cent deciding in store. According to Malin Brodén, producers and store managers could work far more on strategic displays based on this finding.

“For example secondary placements might be appropriate to remind consumers at more locations in a store, or the communication on the shelves could be made more inspiring and attention-grabbing.”

Segmenting for evening meals

Although the largest proportion of respondents buy at lunch time, the survey indicates that evening meals are also popular. Moreover, the results suggest that the evening purchases are more often made on impulse. According to Malin Brodén, this entails great opportunities for producers to create dinner segments, and to more clearly guide consumers in their choice of evening meal.

“You could for example consider multi-portion packs for households with more than one person eating dinner. Or even offer packs with only parts of a dish so that customers can cook their own potatoes or pasta if they prefer. At present there are only very few products like this, so there really is a tremendous opportunity here to establish a position on the market. There is huge potential for this category in Sweden. In Sweden we eat around 1.5 portions per person per year, while in the UK the figure is around 10 portions. We could reach that figure too,” Malin Brodén concludes.

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