According to a new market research report titled, ‘Frozen Ready Meals Market by Type (Vegetarian Meals, Chicken Meals, and Beef Meals) and Distribution Channel (Food Chain Services, Modern Trade, Convenience Stores, Departmental Stores, and Online Stores) – Global Forecast to 2029,’ the frozen ready meals market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2022 to 2029 to reach $130.67 billion by 2029.
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In recent years, ready-to-eat (RTE) food has emerged as one of the most diverse segments of the worldwide ready-meal market. A rise in convenience patterns and a simultaneous increase in need for customized meal options have resulted in a strong desire for frozen packed meals. The frozen food and beverage industry is another option for consumers on the go, with everything from frozen desserts to appetizers and meals available. Frozen ready meals are cost-effective alternative dishes that take less time to prepare as they are pre-cooked and are available throughout the year. The shifting food preferences of consumers toward ready-to-eat products owing to the busy lifestyles of working individuals are likely to boost the market growth.
The major factors driving the frozen ready meals market include the growing preference for convenience foods, increasing working population, rising number of new product launches, and proliferation of hypermarkets and supermarkets in urban areas. Furthermore, the digitalization of the retail Industry is expected to provide significant opportunities for the growth of this market.
However, the negative mindsets and opinions about the impact of frozen food on health and stringent regulation of the FDA regarding food freezing hinder the growth of this market to a notable extent. In addition, the warehousing of frozen food poses a major challenge to players operating in this market.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Frozen Ready Meals Market
The COVID-19 outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus created a severe public health emergency globally, with its quick spread in more than 150 countries. Numerous countries worldwide declared emergencies and announced complete nationwide, statewide, or citywide lockdowns to combat & control the spread of this disease, halting all travel, transport, manufacturing, educational institutions, and non-essential trade, significantly impacting many industries globally.
Moreover, the pandemic positively impacted the frozen ready meals industry, owing to the people becoming more conscious and making healthy choices and buying more frozen ready meals due to its convenience factor. Due to increased penetration of home food, COVID-19 bought out the significance of frozen beef, including its longer shelf life and nutritional values, among consumers. Increasing beef consumption during the COVID pandemic was another major factor behind the growing demand for frozen ready meals. The widespread awareness regarding rich protein intake and chicken as a source of protein has majorly influenced consumers across age groups. As a result, there was an upsurge in chicken-based ready meals intake among non-vegetarians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Further, the frozen ready meals supply chain has been mostly shifted from food service to retail as the demand for frozen ready meals, such as frozen beef and other products, has shifted from food service to household consumption. In addition, according to the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), the companies across the food supply chain are working around the clock to produce, transport, store, and distribute food around the globe. The biggest misconception about COVID-19 is that empty grocery shelves indicate a shortage of food due to the recent runs on grocery stores; however, these have created short-term disruptions as the supply chain works to catch up and replenish. Sales of frozen foods, especially frozen ready meals, have increased as consumers are stockpiling food products. Thus, the sales of frozen ready meals are positively impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Moreover, in 2021, the initiation of mass COVID-19 vaccination drives and a slow revival in economic growth were expected to improve the demand for frozen ready meals from end-users, which, in turn, will positively impact the growth of the frozen ready meals market.
Based on type, the frozen ready meals market is segmented into vegetarian meals, chicken meals, beef meals, and other meals. In 2022, the vegetarian meals segment is expected to account for the largest share of the frozen ready meals market. The large market share of this segment is attributed to the increasing consumer preference for vegan frozen food. The demand for plant-based dairy replacements and food products has surged as people become more aware of the health benefits of vegan cuisine. In addition, demand for meat alternatives has surged in developed countries such as the U.K. and the U.S. This encourages suppliers to develop new frozen vegan items, such as vegan frozen bowls, fillets, and veggie balls are being introduced by companies. However, the beef meals segment is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period.
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Based on distribution channel, the frozen ready meals market is segmented into modern trade, food chain services, convenience stores, departmental stores, online stores, and other distribution channels. In 2022, the modern trade segment is expected to account for the largest share of the frozen ready meals market. The large market share of this segment is attributed to the growing number of supermarkets in developing countries, such as China & India and increasing consumer demand for ready meals, especially in developed countries.
However, the online stores segment is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. The rapid growth of this segment is mainly attributed to the growing preference for personalized consumer convenience, availability of greater discounts compared to modern trade, and greater product selection experience.
Based on geography, in 2022, Europe is expected to account for the largest share of the frozen ready meals market. The major market share of Europe is attributed to the changing lifestyle, increasing consumption of frozen beef, increased customer awareness of the benefits of frozen food, rising preference for ready-to-eat food, and favorable regulations. In addition, the retail stores and consumer packaged food service providers in this region are providing value-added frozen ready meals packets to consumers at reasonable prices, thereby accelerating the momentum of market growth in Europe during the forecast period.
However, the market in Asia-Pacific is slated to register the fastest growth rate during the forecast period. The growth of this regional market is driven by the changing lifestyles of consumers, increasing disposable income, an increasing number of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the retail sector, the rising trend of ready-to-eat food among the working-class population, and the growing demand for processed food products in emerging countries such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The key players operating in the frozen ready meals market include General Mills, Inc. (U.S.), Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland), Conagra Brands, Inc. (U.S.), McCain Foods Limited (Canada), The Kraft Heinz Company (U.S.), Tyson Foods, Inc. (U.S.), Wiltshire Farm Foods (U.K.), Daiya Foods Inc. (Canada), Sigma Alimentos, S.A de C.V. (Mexico), Agrarfrost GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Himalaya Food International Ltd. (India), J.R. Simplot Company (U.S.), Mondelēz International, Inc. (U.S.), Coöperatie Koninklijke Cosun U.A. (Netherlands), and Nomad Foods Limited (U.K.), among others.
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