Few categories are structurally as changeable as ready meals. Many retailers are changing and rotating their entire own label category within each trading year. As well as changes at an individual recipe dish level, the cuisines that inspire the dishes change each year. Whilst cuisines such as Chinese, Indian and Italian remain ever-popular, other cuisines such as Thai, French, Mexican, Greek, Japanese, Spanish and contemporary British cuisine shift in and out of fashion regularly.
The salt, sugar and fat agenda is alive and well in this category with fast growing ‘healthy’ ready meals and soups amongst the best performers. These healthy categories are often led by challenger brands with low barriers to entry and fast category churn creating a ‘sink or swim’ environment in which more entrepreneurially led brands can flourish.