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Global Frozen-Cooked Ready Meals Market Size and Share Analysis 2023-2028
The market for frozen-cooked ready meals is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.95% during the forecast period (2023-2028), with the market size estimated to reach USD 49,821 million by 2028 from USD 39,129 million in 2023.
Frozen-cooked meals are complete or portioned meals that are precooked, packaged, and then frozen for retail sale. These meals have gained popularity due to their convenience and diverse menu options. Freezing in the food industry typically involves deep freezing the product below -18°C.
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USD 56.6 billion in 2021
Product Type, Distribution Channel, and Geography
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The growth of the market is primarily driven by factors such as rapid urbanization, the busy lifestyles of consumers, particularly in urban areas, increasing disposable income, and the desire for convenient and time-saving precooked food. The market has witnessed a shift from instant food products to frozen precooked food, along with a growing demand for gourmet frozen ready meals like artisanal pizzas, dumplings, and quesadillas. This changing dietary preference, coupled with the availability of a wide range of frozen, precooked meals, is fueling market growth. Moreover, consumers are increasingly willing to choose frozen ready meals due to their longer shelf life, attractive pricing, and the introduction of new innovative products by manufacturers to meet growing consumer demand.
There is also a rising demand for vegetarian meals in the market, driven by the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans globally in both developed and developing countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, sales revenue for vegetarian and plant-based food and beverages alternatives grew from GBP 1000 million in 2018 to GBP 1490 million in 2021, according to the Ethical Consumer Research Association Ltd. This trend towards vegetarian options is contributing to the growth of the frozen-cooked ready meals market.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including product type, distribution channel, and geography.
Segmentation by Product Type
Non-Vegetarian Meals – Chicken Meals, Beef Meals, Other Non-Vegetarian Meals
Segmentation by Distribution Channel
Other Distribution Channels
Segmentation by Geography
North America – United States, Canada, Mexico, and Rest of North America
Europe – United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Rest of Europe
Asia-Pacific – China, Japan, India, Australia, and Rest of Asia-Pacific
Latin America – Brazil, Argentina, and Rest of Latin America
Middle East and Africa – Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East and Africa
The non-vegetarian meals segment dominates the market, with a projected CAGR of 4.95% during the forecast period (2023-2028). This segment includes various meal types such as chicken, beef, pork, and seafood meals.
On the other hand, the vegetarian meals segment is experiencing the fastest growth, with a market share of 33.98% in 2022. The increasing number of vegan and vegetarian populations worldwide, especially in developed and developing countries, is driving the growth of this segment.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets are the primary sales channels for frozen-cooked ready meals due to their extensive retail space, wide range of brands, and convenience in obtaining products quickly.
The demand for convenient and instant food, including frozen-cooked ready meals, is growing rapidly. This is attributed to changes in social and economic patterns, increased spending on food and beverages, awareness of healthy food options, changes in meal patterns and habits, the settlement of expatriate populations, and the desire to explore new products. Gen Z and millennial consumers are particularly interested in healthy and convenient options to complement their busy schedules. Their increasing purchasing power and disposable income contribute to the market’s growth. The concept of on-the-go food aligns well with ready meals, offering consumers the convenience of consumption and disposable packaging.
Frozen-cooked ready meals require minimal or no further preparation, and technological advancements have introduced a variety of formats such as frozen, portion-controlled, shelf-stable, microwaveable, and prepared mixes. Manufacturers are focusing on formulation innovations that ensure shelf stability, convenience in transportation, and longer shelf life. These products have gained significant market penetration, catering to the changing consumer preference for smaller frequent meals.
North America holds the largest market share in the global frozen-cooked ready meals market, with a projected CAGR of 4.53% during the forecast period. Factors such as high disposable income, busy lifestyles, and a higher number of women in the workforce contribute to the region’s growth. Frozen ready meals are popular due to their ease of preparation, minimal nutrition loss, and extended product life. The growing working population in the United States has increased reliance on frozen-cooked ready meals. For example, the employment-population rate in the US was 60.1% in May 2022, compared to 58.0% in May 2021. This busy and hectic lifestyle is expected to drive the demand for frozen-cooked ready meals in the country.
Consumers in North America are also attracted to new and innovative healthy and vegan food products made with organic and natural ingredients. Asian and Mediterranean cuisines offer vegetarian options that are nutritionally rich compared to meat-heavy Western cuisine. North American consumers are willing to spend more on premium frozen-cooked ready meals. In 2020, frozen food sales in the US increased by 21%, according to the American Frozen Food Institute. Several brands in the United States specialize in frozen-cooked ready meals featuring dishes from the African continent.
The frozen-cooked ready meals market is characterized by intense competition, as it attracts numerous international, regional, and local players. Prominent companies operating in this market include Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Nomad Foods, and Ajinomoto Co. Inc., among others. These market players are implementing expansion strategies to strengthen their presence in the frozen-cooked ready meals industry.
Mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and new product development are key strategic approaches employed by leading companies to enhance their brand visibility and appeal to consumers. For instance, in June 2022, Campbell Soup Company introduced a new Chunky innovation within its meal and beverage segment. This innovation includes options such as a spicy chicken and sausage combo, as well as a spicy steak and potato variant.
To broaden their customer base and increase market share, these companies focus on developing a global business with a localized approach. They establish production and sales networks that cater to the specific needs of local communities. Additionally, product innovation and strategic mergers and acquisitions are pursued to expand market reach and attract a larger customer base.
Key companies profiled in this report include Campbell Soup Company, Ajinomoto Co. Inc., General Mills Inc., Hellofresh Group, Conagra Brands Inc., Hormel Foods Corporation, Mars Incorporated, Ebro Foods SA, Nestlé SA, The Kraft Heinz Company, Amy’s Kitchen.
Recent Industry Developments
In December 2022, Hormel Foods collaborated with Crisp and Google Cloud to enhance real-time visibility into sales and supply chain data. By utilizing the Crisp platform, Hormel Foods gains the ability to share and leverage both historical and real-time data insights stored in Google Cloud from leading retailers. This collaboration aims to further improve business performance for Hormel Foods’ retail customers.
In August 2022, Ajinomoto Foods expanded its partnership with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) to address product shortages and competitive concerns related to their brand. This partnership strengthens relationships with retailers. Ajinomoto Foods, a prominent frozen food producer, implemented IRI’s Daily Out-Of-Stock (OOS) Benchmarking tool to manage retailer expectations during instances of low inventory. This implementation followed Ajinomoto Foods’ utilization of IRI’s market measurement solutions and consumer panel information since 2003.
In June 2022, Conagra Brands introduced an extensive range of new products designed to cater to summer culinary preferences, offering contemporary flavors that solve mealtime dilemmas and satisfy cravings. These products incorporate trendy ingredients and can be prepared conveniently using various cooking methods.
Key Questions Answered
What is the duration of the study period for the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
The study period for the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market spans from 2018 to 2028.
What is the growth rate of the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
The Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market is experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.95% over the next five years.
What is the size of the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
The Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market is projected to reach USD 39,129 million in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.95% to reach USD 49,821 million by 2028.
Which region exhibits the highest growth rate in the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
The Asia-Pacific region showcases the highest CAGR from 2018 to 2028 within the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market.
Which region holds the largest share in the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
North America currently holds the highest market share as of 2022 in the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market.
Who are the key players in the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market?
The major companies operating in the Frozen-cooked Ready Meals Market include Conagra Brands Inc., The Kraft Heinz Company, Nestlé S.A., Campbell Soup Company, and General Mills Inc.