Hectic Lifestyles and Consumer Thriftiness Drive Demand for Convenient Meal Prep at Home

February 18, 2011

CHICAGO— What’s for dinner? Millions of Americans ask that question every day. Among those who must respond to the query and put a meal on the table, a growing number want it to involve something quick and easy to prepare. According to an article in Food Technology magazine, giving consumers what they want-- convenience coupled with taste and affordability- has become a priority for product developers of all three meal-solution categories (frozen, shelf-stable and refrigerated).

A quest for convenience is precisely what drives consumers to the frozen food aisle, but marketers of products in this mature category may be losing ground as meal preparers opt for trendier alternatives ranging from pre-seasoned cuts of meat to shelf stable meal-kits. The article cites a rise in skillet meal sales as both skillet meals and bagged products for in-oven preparation allow consumers to participate in creating the meal.

The concept of upscale shelf-stable meals with healthful ingredients makes sense. Mintel, a market research company, found that more than 60 percent of shelf-stable meal consumers say they would like to see products with more vegetables and whole grains. Simply delivering on convenience isn’t enough to ensure success in easy-to-prepare meals; consumers are continuing to look for more healthful, fewer total ingredients and lower sodium content in their meal solutions. Food Market Institute research shows that shopper interest in fresh ready-to-eat foods from the grocery store is at its highest level in five years.

Read the full article in Food Technology magazine: http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2011/february/features/serving-up-convenience.aspx

Information from this press release used for online, print, or broadcast content must be attributed to Food Technology magazine, a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists.

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