Convenience is top priority for UK shoppers
Speed and ease of cooking remain top priorities for UK shoppers, with a staggering 75% of households buying ‘Added Value’ meat products last year.
According to AHDB’s latest Consumer Insight report, the time taken to produce a meal is the most important ‘convenience’ factor for 57% of consumers across the country.
Britons are frequently turning to marinades, ready-to-cook and sous-vide alternatives to limit their time in the kitchen – with £874 million spent on these items in 2019, rising 20% over the last five years.
However, experts believe there are further opportunities for the red meat sector to push the taste and quality credentials of ‘Added Value’ products, while also addressing the consumers’ desire for healthy eating.
Rebecca Gladman, AHDB retail insight manager, said: “Over the years, we have seen that consumers are feeling increasingly stretched and therefore, innovations in convenience cooking are key to alleviating some of this pressure.
“However, health and quality are the two main areas where ‘Added Value’ underperforms when compared to primary meat cuts, so there may be an opportunity to dial up taste communications and consider a separate healthier range within the category.”
The report states that changes to household trends, such as regular commuting, the shift in perception of domestic responsibilities and a rise in single person households all contribute to the nation’s love-in with convenience meals.
The latest data also shows that during lockdown there was a 28% growth in spend on marinades and an extra 10% spent on sous-vide (Kantar, 12 w/e 12 July 2020). And while price remains a key consideration for consumers, the benefits of convenient products justifies a higher price for many.
The report states chicken is currently the best performing protein in ready-to-cook meals – making up 75% of meals. But according to a fair share calculation, if red meat increased its presence in these meals there would be a £61 million additional boost to the beef market, pig meat a further £57 million and £28 million for lamb.
Rebecca added: “There are a variety of red meat cuts that could have increased presence in ready-to-cook meals, providing more choice for consumers. Offering quick and easy solutions is particularly important for lamb, with fewer meals identified as ‘quick to prepare’ or ‘easy to prepare’.
“While ‘Added Value’ has been an important driver for the Meat, Fish and Poultry category over the past five years, this growth has slowed slightly recently.
“There were 485 million in-home occasions of ‘Added Value’ products last year, up 34% on 2016, but 3% down on 2018. Therefore, there is certainly an opportunity to act on more recent trends seen under lockdown, to maintain momentum for marinades and sous vide products, and more to be done for the ready-to-cook category.”