Pork has been revealed as the fastest-growing meat in ready meals as sales of red meat in preprepared meals have grown 2.4% in the last year, with the number of shoppers choosing ready meals reaching a five-year high.
According to a new article by AHDB, time-poor consumers are returning to convenience meals after a huge drop in sales during pandemic. Now, 11.5% of all meals consumed at home have little or no preparation time.
As total retail volumes of meat, fish and poultry fell by 6.3% in the 52 weeks to February 2022, preprepared meals were up 3.2%, according to Kantar, with ready meals driving most of the growth – up 4.3%.
Italian was the most popular ready meal cuisine, representing 66 per cent share of chilled pork ready meals. Italian cuisine also makes up the largest share of chilled beef ready meals at 65 per cent.
AHDB retail insight manager Grace Randall said: “At the start of the pandemic, we saw a rise in homemade meals cooked from scratch as people had more time at home. But with everyday life become busier, shoppers are turning back to easy meals.
“This change in consumer needs has had an impact on the types of foods shoppers buy from the supermarket and some of the quickest and easiest meals to cook are preprepared meals.”
The growth of preprepared meals has been recorded across all age groups. Consumers under the age of 28 increased volumes by more than half, whilst empty nesters represent the largest growth when looking at different life stages.
Ms Randall added: “There are definitely opportunities to grow the red meat convenience market in the future, especially as a cheaper option compared to the eating out and takeaway markets.
“However, it’s also important to note, that as budgets get squeezed over the next year, for some consumers prepared meals may have to justify their higher price, as on average, they cost 68 pence more per person than scratch cooked meals.”