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The new generation of ready-made meals has already appeared on supermarket shelves. These are so-called “fresh boxes”, which help avoid waste and have an affordable price.
This is a new trend that is dominating both in Greece and abroad. Finished and semi-finished products, the turnover of which in our country exceeds 500 million euros per year, are included in the consumer basket.
Fresh, frozen, canned and even dried foods are a solution that many even consider as a way to save money as they buy only as much as they need. The consumer needs less time and energy to prepare semi-finished products, and at the same time, fresh boxes (for example, salads) are already prepared according to a special recipe and have all the required ingredients in one package.
Now every second consumer (49%) builds their weekly diet by buying ready-made meals and semi-finished products, and having the opportunity to choose from a large group of products. In the structure of the ready-to-eat food market by main product groups, according to market and ICAP estimates, the frozen food category occupies approximately 47–50% of the total volume, canned food – 25%, chilled foods, ready-made or semi-finished products, with an upward trend – 16 %, dry foods (soups, purees, noodles, etc.) – 3% and ready-made hot dishes (grilled chicken, ready-made side dishes) – 9.6%.
The fact that the pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate cooking at home has paved the way for this product category. And inflation and a decline in take-out orders have motivated food industry enterprises to expand their product range (from traditional Greek recipes to Italian and Asian cuisine).
According to ELTRUN research, 27% of Greeks say they cook more at home compared to before the pandemic and energy crisis, fueling strong demand for the prepared food category.
Category Ready meals are currently a dynamic sector, in which more and more companies are investing. The industry of standardized foods available in supermarkets is divided into four main categories: frozen, refrigerated and dry (packets of soups, noodles, etc., which just need to be filled with hot water).
The frozen prepared meals category grew nearly 8% over three years (2019-2021) and 1.1% over the 2021-2022 period, according to ICAP. Frozen meat, cheese and chicken pies account for the largest percentage of sales in this category, with other types of frozen meals following closely behind.
In 2020, total sales of canned prepared meals increased by 6.3%, which continued into 2021 at 3%, and growth is estimated to continue.
Ready-made meals and semi-finished products are very popular with millennials and, in general, all “advanced” youth, because they help save time on cooking. That is, I bought it, opened it, ate it and threw away the packaging. No need to burn electricity, no waste of water on washing dishes… No worries, no hassle!