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What's trending in ready-made meals?

As consumers increasingly seek affordable and convenient meal options, convenience stores are emerging as a competitive alternative.

Granularity is a platform that leverages AI to predict product trends from social media and search engines.

What's trending?

Ready-meals/home meal replacement and hot foods market.


Conversations around ready-to-eat meals have increased by 57% in the past four months. People are seeking more affordable food options, and convenience store meals are often both cheaper and faster. In addition, c-store foodservice and ready meals have significantly improved in quality and variety, offering a wide range of options to suit diverse tastes and preferences.

For c-store leaders, this trend as an opportunity to increase the total market basket, especially with market baskets down by 10% to 30%. Including quick ready-to-eat meals in a convenience store assortment increases the average basket size, as these meals are often purchased along with beverages. Of course, they also come with large barriers to entry in capital investments and staffing challenges.

Decoding trends HMR data
Decoding trends HMR data

What's happening on social media?

  • A key trend within ready-made meals are hot and spicy options, featuring conversations with word such as, 'buldak', 'fire', and 'hot'.
  • While not specific to HMR products, people enjoy debating the best/worst gas station foods as part of their content consumption habits.
  • Exotic pizza flavours, such as truffle or Buffalo chicken, gain attention on social media. 
Snaps of social media posts discussing gas station food
Decoding trends lines from social media conversations about foodservice


  • C-store industry leaders are leaning into the HMR category because it is increasing average basket sizes. Ready-meals are often paired with alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage options.
  • Consumers are looking for cheap and quick options. Convenience store ready-made meals can be cheaper than other QSRs, while offering greater speed and convenience.

How can trend predictions enhance your decision-making? 

  1. Improve product assortment: Assess how well your product lineup captures emerging trends and identifies market gaps. 
  2. Optimize promotions: Tailor marketing strategies based on how consumers use products, adapting to relevant terms, locations, and interested markets.
  3. Inform product Innovation: Utilize data to filter through product pitches to hone into the new products that matter. Test products based on market data rather than a gut instinct.

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