New data shows 5% drop in ready meal sales as consumers look for more cost-effective ways to feed the family
With consumers looking for cost-saving measures to keep themselves fed and warm this winter, new findings from retail data app Reapp reveal a huge shift in consumer behaviour. Ready meals are no longer the top dish served up at dinner time – as air fryers are bringing a new way of cooking and cuisine to the dining table.
As an electric cooker is the least efficient cooking method, costing 87p per day (£316 a year) – consumers are rushing out to buy air fryers as they costs just 14p a day.
Whilst microwaves have their uses, such as reheating food, they lack the versatility of other cooking methods. Air fryers – currently the second most cost-efficient method of cooking – have more versatility than a microwave.
Air fryer sales were up 3000% from October 2021 – October 2022 and a recent campaign by Iceland, in collaboration with energy firm Utilita, saw both companies selling a 4.5litre Tower air fryer at a discounted price of £35. In addition to this, Iceland is working to change cooking instructions on packs to reflect more energy-efficient and cost-efficient methods of cooking.
Data insights from Reapp show a significant drop in sales volumes of Ready Meals – Y-O-Y October 2021 to October 2022.
Despite a Y-O-Y increase in sales value (£64,715.94 / 10.46% Y-O-Y uplift), ready meals have seen a decline in sales volume:
2021 = 421,630 units
2022 = 399,961 units
Y-O-Y Decrease = 21,669 units (5.14% Y-O-Y decline)
Whilst sales values have increased, the volume of ready meals sold in UK supermarkets have declined. The reason for this being that the cost price has increased across retailers.
Of the 15 SKUs stocked by retailers for both 2021 and 2022, 14 of these saw a price increase Y-O-Y.
The average Y-O-Y price increase amongst ready meal SKUs was 37p per unit.
Highest Increase = 98p per unit
Lowest Increase = 8p per unit
James Lamplugh, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Reapp said; “What we are seeing is a huge shift in consumer behaviour which is being driven by the cost-of-living crisis. Consumers are seeking out the most affordable way to eat a hot meal. Conventional cookers are expensive to run and ready meal prices have significantly increased, so even using a microwave isn’t the cheapest option to feed a family.”
There was a gap in the market for an affordable method of cooking to step in – and air fryers have done that. Air fryers are currently the must-have kitchen item, and it is driving consumers food choices.
James Lamplugh continues; “Retailers and food brands are also supporting consumers with this new trend. We are seeing more and more products adapting to have instructions on packaging to reflect the newer, more cost-efficient, and energy-efficient methods of cooking. Interestingly, the first two weeks in September saw a huge boom – 2000% rise – in people searching for Air Fryer recipes compared to the same time in 2021.”
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