Consumers craving convenience

One-in-five Australians feel under time pressure when shopping, according to IRI Client Growth Partner, Mairead McElvanna, leading many down the path of least resistance – quick, easy and accessible meal solutions.

To meet this demand, the convenient meals category spans several formats and is available in supermarkets and direct-to-door.

Pre-made meals

Pre-made meals, available chilled or frozen, require zero prep and are ready in minutes.

“[This] category is worth $275 million in supermarkets, up 11 per cent between 2016 and 2018, with rates expected to continue,” Ms McElvanna said.

Pre-assembled meal kits

Pre-assembled meal kits satisfy those who want to cook from scratch in a convenient way.

“Australian culture has grown increasingly fascinated with food and cooking; [meal kits] are an ideal option for many customers,” explained Ms McElvanna.

Meal kit benefits are said to include reduced food wastage and cost savings, exposure to different cuisines, a simplified cooking process and affordable, wholesome, balanced meals.

Takeaway delivery

Australia has seen a surge in delivery operators over the past five years, with mobile technology transforming how consumers order food.

According to Ms McElvanna this growing market is valued at $2.6 billion (source: finder.com.au) with a growth of 18 per cent between 2015 and 2018 (source: ABS).

“Three in five Australian households get takeaway at least weekly, with the average spend almost $1600 a year,” Ms McElvanna added.

It appears the convenience and immediacy of takeaways can still trump health and cost considerations.

What does this mean for grocery retailers?

To compete with convenient meal options, retailers and manufacturers need to ensure their offering is convenient across the aisles, affordable (minimal convenience tax), easy to make (straightforward instructions), diverse (offering a range of flavours and formats) and socially conscious (recyclable packaging and meat-free options).

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