In a time when everything is moving towards greater convenience, data shows that the good old-fashioned home cooked meal is still the go-to option for Australians. According to a pilot study on home prepared meals by leading global research company, The NPD Group, nine out of 10 consumers have a home prepared meal made from store-bought ingredients within a four-week period. In fact, on any given day 75% of Aussies surveyed said they have a home cooked meal.
Despite an emergence of convenience-first home cooking products and services such as frozen products, ready-to-eat meals, ready-to-heat meals, meal kits and meal plans, there is still a high purchasing drive for fresh over frozen meals. This is primarily led by millennials, with this age-bracket accounting for 30% of all home prepared meals using fresh and store-bought ingredients.
“Today, convenience, health and the search for quality, local ingredients are all entwined, and many options have launched in the market to suit the time-strapped consumer,” says Ciara Clancy, Executive Director, Foodservice at The NPD Group. “However, whilst our data reveals that millennials are driving the meal kit and meal plan trend, their impact is still low when compared to consumers choosing to prepare meals from start to finish using fresh ingredients purchased in store.”
Whilst relatively new to the foodservice scene, meal kits (where consumers subscribe to a service that provides pre-portioned and partially prepared ingredients for set recipes) are on the rise, with half of these users being in the millennial age bracket (50%). Meal plans (similar to meal kits but with less preparation required) are also skewed to millennials, who account for more than half of all reported consumption, but this figure remains low.
Clancy continues, “There is a gap in the market. The needs of convenience-driven consumers are not being satisfied when it comes to eating at home. We expected to see a much higher consumption of frozen and ready to eat/heat meals.
“It could be that meal kits and meal plans are expensive compared to buying individual ingredients yourself, but frozen meals tend to be cheaper, so what is stopping households buying them? Is it that they don’t meet Australians’ high taste expectations or is there a stigma attached to frozen food whereby people believe they are unhealthy? Whatever it is, manufacturers need to take note as there is a huge opportunity here to fill the gap.”
For more information on The NPD Group and the home prepared meals pilot study, visit www.thenpdgroup.com.au.