FRANCE - French household spending on ready meals, including pizzas and quiches, accounts for just four per cent of the average food budget, according to a government study, writes Peter Crosskey.
In gathering the data, researchers defined the ready meal category in very broad terms across a number of traditional buying categories.
These included canned classics such as petit salé, cassoulet or choucroute, as well as chill chain and frozen standard lines such as shepherd’s pie, fish pie or gratin dauphinois.
The bulk of ready meal purchases were meat-based (38 per cent), just over a quarter were pizzas, quiches and tourtes, while a further 10 per cent were pasta-based and 20 per cent were fish-themed.
The take-up of ready meal products was more marked among younger age groups, especially those with children, and in less well-off circumstances.
The study was carried out by FranceAgriMer, the economic intelligence unit of the agriculture ministry. It draws on historic datasets and presents average figures for extended periods, using Kantar WorldPanel data.
Working on datasets between 2008 and 2011 the researchers estimated total spending on ready meals at home to be around EUR three billion, the equivalent of EUR 110 per household per year.
Household penetration for meat-based ready meals is nearly 90 per cent, more than half of them canned or in jars. Seafood-based ready meals are preferred by older consumers, singles and better off households, the team found, adding that 60 per cent of purchases were frozen products.
Purchases of potato-based ready meals are strongest among single households and those living in the north of the country. Nearly two thirds of these sales were frozen products, a further fifth from a deli or serveover counter, with the rest being bought in cans.
The Kantar Worldpanel data counts retail sales but not out of home consumption at cafés or restaurants, neither does it count holiday purchases nor weekend purchases at second homes.
TheMeatSite News Desk