One reason for taking ready-to-eat meals is the convenience of them (70%). May say such meals allow them to spend more time with friends and family, or to spend doing something fun. Some 21% say cost is another reason to choose this option followed by the smaller, more reasonable portion sizes that many such meals provide them (19%).
“Convenience eating has always been a trend,” said Paul Antoniadis, CEO of good natured, “but what’s changed is how people are consuming takeout meals. What was once grabbing a pizza and bringing it home, has turned into salad bars and grab-and-go lunches from the grocery store, pickup and takeout from your favourite restaurants, and quick service meal spots where you can dine-in or takeaway.”
Convenience, however, does not trump freshness or the aesthetic appeal of the foods. According to Antoniadis, “the key factors consumers keep in mind when shopping for food are visibility and freshness.” The Ready-to-Eat Report finds consumers place a high priority on food freshness, with 73% saying it is their top concern when it comes to buying ready-to-eat meals.
That concern for freshness is the major factor in consumers also placing a priority on high-quality packaging, packaging that both showcases the foods and ensures safe handling and protection of what is inside. Some 86% say they want to see high clarity food packaging and would be likely to buy a ready-to-eat product if they can see what it looks like first. This has also driven a greater consumer awareness and demand for packaging to be sustainable. When asked, 77% say that eco-friendly food packaging is important to them and that they usually look at a product’s packaging when shopping.