02 Jul Insider View: June 2015
…… whilst the demand for premium ready meals continues to grow.
Data from our latest shopper survey* revealed not only an increasingly fragmented shopping experience but also a paradox in the kind of food we buy. While increasing numbers claim to be ‘buying more fresh ingredients to cook from scratch’ compared to a year ago (56%*), recent trade figures also show an increase in sales of premium brands such as Charlie Bigham’s and Higgidy, as well as premium own label ready meals. This is in line with feedback from our latest Grocery Shopping Survey ** which revealed more than 2 in 5 consumers are buying more top of the range own label food compared to a year ago, and many seek the premium tier when buying a chilled ready meal. Families and singletons may use a range of ‘home cooked’ meals (often using a cooking sauce or meal accompaniment to speed the process) in the week and at weekends, but are happy to plug the gap with a premium ready meal or part prepared meals when short of time or seeking a treat. Spending a little extra on ready meals at the top end of the market goes some way to offset the guilt felt when choosing a prepared meal and also reflects a drive for quality. But prices at the very top end of the market are prohibitive for many, with niche brands struggling for mainstream acceptance, particularly when they link ‘new generation’ branding with questionable recipes and high prices. Like Love Foods, with their Gourmet Beef & Beetroot Curry (Score 15) or On The Menu Pork in Apricot Sauce (Score 15 – a new low) and Plant for Peace Pomegranate, Mulberry & Orange Oil Fruit Bars (Score 14 – a new low) 3 new lines tested this month that tanked with consumers. At that level consumers want quality in ingredients; value for money and low risk in purchase.
* Cambridge MR Shopper Survey March 2015, sample size: 360
** Cambridge MR Grocery Shopping Survey June 2015, sample size 103.
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A (SWEET) TASTE OF CONSUMER OPINION. . .
- A cracker of a product launched by Jacob’s hits the sweet spot with consumers: Thai Sweet Chilli Cracker Crisps (Product of the month Review 150620). It was not alone in appeal for the sweet toothed Brits…
- Sainsbury’s Moroccan Style Sweet Potato Croquettes” (Review 150615) –‘a little dry’.
- The Co-op Hazelnut Latte Fruit & Nut Mix (Review 150621) – ‘not enough chocolate’.
- M&S All Butter Summer Trifle Cookies (Review 150611) – ‘never tasted anything like this before’.
- Beanies Cinder Toffee Flavour Ground Coffee” (Review 150624) – ‘better than syrup added ones’.
- Not forgetting, another sweet temptation from Thailand … Kettle Chips Thai Sweet Chilli Lemongrass and Coriander Chips (Review 150613)) – ‘lovely taste and after-kick’.