The market of ready meals has grown remarkably in the recent years. Previously perceived as non-healthy and an indulgence, it has adapted to changing consumer demands and lifestyles. This report will give an overview of how changes in the macro-environment influenced the sales of ready meals and the factors that might affect sales in the UK over the next five years. The growth of the ready meals market over the years.
In 2007, the research company Mintel reported that the ready meals market within the five largest European Countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) increased by 5% between 2006 and 2007, reaching a total sales value of €8.4 billion. A growth of 18% to reach the €10 billion mark by 2011 was also predicted. The market was worth €2 billion in the UK in 2007 with a prediction that between 2006 and 2011, sales would reach €3.7 billion in the UK. Moreover, it seems that the UK has a much higher growth of sales per head of population than in France and Germany with only 9% of Germans predicted to eat a ready meal each week. The ready meals market is very competitive and the main competitors are: HJ Heinz, Premier Foods, Unilever Bestfoods, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
The report will develop further the different factors, which influenced the growth of the ready meals market by analysing the changes in the macro environment (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Environmental and Legal); and establishing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the ready meals market. PESTEL Analysis
Changes in the marketing environment have certainly influenced positively the growth of the ready meals market. This PESTEL Analysis will help to analyse the ready meals’ market environment and identify the factors that influenced its growth. Political factors: The government is concerned about the health of the society and is promoting healthy eating and encouraging people to choose healthier options. “5 a day” or “Healthy Schools” are among initiatives promoted by the government in order to push people into consuming food which are healthy. As the NHS feels the strain of obesity on Healthcare costs, the government is tackling the problem by educating people about healthy eating and pushing food manufactures in producing healthier food. The stable political environment has also help the growth for this market. Economic factors: The economical environment has positively affected the ready meals market. Economic factors are determinants to a market. In the case of the ready meals market it has influenced the demand and profits. The increase in sales of ready meals can be associated with the rise in incomes. As individuals grow richer and have less time to prepare food they tend to switch to ready meals. The economic factor in the rise of sales of ready meals can be associated with the household disposable income and buying power increase. Nevertheless, the increase of sales of ready meals can also be attributed to a deteriorating economic environment. In 2008, the recession did help boost the sales of ready meals as consumers switched from more costly restaurants to a cheaper alternative: Gourmet ready meals. Sociological factors: The different changes in socials trends in the UK had a positive impact on the sales of ready meals. The rise in consumption of ready meals or convenience foods can be associated with the following changes in social factors: •
The number of single households has increased.
Working hours are longer.
The participation rate in female labor force has increased. •
The move towards food that is lighter and healthier.
The consumers’ interest in ethnic foods.
The changes in values within the society with “cellular” families in which each family member tend to eat at different times; it has resulted in a move from family meals occasions. •
The reduction of cookery in school curriculum has reportedly affected the ability of young people...
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