Pork product development in the ready-to-cook sector is “crucial” if the pigmeat industry is to stand a chance of sharing in the sort of sales growth which is already being enjoyed by other meats, according to AHDB Pork.
Based on research carried out by Kantar Worldpanel, a third of all ready-to-cook products are consumed on a Sunday, with an average ready-to-cook meal taking 56.4 minutes to prepare. Currently chicken holds a 49% share of this market with pork at just 13%.
Even more significant is the fact that consumer spending on ready-to-cook pork products has fallen by 25% over the past year.
“Product development is crucial to turn this back into growth,” said AHDB Pork, noting that ready-to-cook lamb sales, in contrast to pork, grew by 13% in 2015.
The pork development challenge also applies to other convenience food sectors, although less dramatically in terms of immediate impact on product sales.
In the ready meals market, for example, pork currently commands a 9% share and is growing at a rate of 5% a year. This is slightly lower growth than key competitors beef and lamb, but higher than chicken.
Taking ready-to-cook, ready meals and chilled main meal accompaniments together, the convenience food market is hugely valuable with the meat, fish and poultry convenience market alone being worth £3.6 billion. The market is also continuing to grow at a rate of almost 4% a year.
Chicken currently holds the largest market share at 30%, although sales value fell 1% last year. Pork is sitting at 11%, but is growing by 3% annually, while beef has an 18% share and grew by 6% last year.
“With ever increasing pressure on time, as a nation we are spending less and less time in the kitchen preparing and cooking an evening meal,” said AHDB Pork. “According to Kantar Worldpanel, this is down from an average 60 minutes in 1980 to 31 minutes in 2015, leading to ever greater demand for convenient meal solutions.
“With some of the most popular pork dishes taking far longer than this (31 mins) to prepare and cook, it highlights the vulnerability of primary red meat in fitting in with modern lifestyles. More convenient meal solutions need to be developed to tap into this growing market.”
Headline image includes a Kantar Worldpanel illustration of how time in the kitchen has halved in the last 35 years.