Content of the study:
The ready meal market - France

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1.1 Market definition

Fast food products, ready-made meals are the most popular dishes that only need to be reheated, or minimally prepared, before being eaten. They can be found in various forms: canned, vacuum-packed or frozen. According to the INSEE definition, prepared meals are ready-to-eat and ready-made meals (prepared, seasoned or cooked).

These ready-to-eat products are distributed in mass-market stores or in small local shops, and allow employees or families to eat easily, without the worry of cooking at home.

Today, we are witnessing a revenue diversification - and quality - and of the foodstuffs used - meat, vegetables, seafood, fish - to suit new market segments whose quality requirements are more important. This is especially true after the scandals that hit the market in 2013 with the horse meat fraud.

The chain of production also tends to become more complex with distributors starting to manufacture their own products, and with the emergence of these young companies of ready-made meals, which seek to challenge the control of a few large companies.

The global market for ready-made meals is growing and according to specialists, this market will experience an average growth of about 5.5% per year between 2019 and 2027.

However, the French market is more mature and therefore less dynamic. A threat hangs over ready-made meals, which are considered to be unhealthy by a part of the population, and the market will have to overcome this vision to continue evolving. However, there are many innovations in this market that are paying off. Most manufacturers are offering new lines vegetarian, gluten-free, and some even invest in biodegradable packaging.

The players in this market are the manufacturers of ready meals such as Sodebo, Fleury Michon, etc., but also the super and hypermarkets where most ready meals are sold. We can think of Carrefour, Auchan, but also smaller shops like Franprix or grocery stores. Sometimes retail chains can also be manufacturers: this is the case of Carrefour, Franprix or Marks and Spencer. There are also digital players such as Weight Watchers who deliver individual ready meals, intended for consumption at home or outside.

1.2 A growing global market

Frozen and chilled meals account for half of the market in ****, and are expected to maintain their lead over the forecast period due to a wide range of products with a long shelf life. Frozen pizza is the most popular frozen ready meal, contributing significantly to global income. Canned meals are ...

1.3 France: an important country for the ready-made meals market

In France, the purchase of ready meals represents about *% of household food expenditure in ****. The size of this market was €*** million in ****, down *.*% compared to ****. Between **** and ****, the market is relatively stable, or even slightly decreasing. [***]

The breakdown of French people's annual purchases of ready meals is shown in the graph ...

1.4 France's foreign trade

French exports of ready meals:

  Main countries of destination for exports of prepared meals France, ****, million euros Source French Customs   The vast majority of French exports in **** are destined for four countries, namely Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany. These four countries account for a total of *** million euros ...

1.5 The impact of Covid-19 on the ready meal market

Against all expectations on the part of the market players, the coronavirus crisis has caused a surge in sales of ready-made meals in France. Ready-made meals have the advantage of being cheap, easy to store and to cook. In a context of economic crisis linked to the pandemic and to the ...


2.1 Consumer profile

Changes in household expenditure on ready meals France, ****-****, in euros Source: ****

Over the whole period ****-****, French households spent the most on meat-based ready meals (***). However, there is a value effect due to differences in raw material prices, with meat and fish being the most expensive.

Rate of prepared food ...

2.2 Demand for ready meals by product category

Aggregate demand:

  Evolution of the rate of consumption of prepared meals France, ****-****, in % Source FranceAgrimer  

The graph above shows that the hierarchy of prepared dishes from the most consumed to the least consumed has not changed over the period ****-****. Indeed, over the whole period, meat-based ready meals have ...

2.3 Determinants of demand

In the report "prêt-à-manger" of the Ministry of Agriculture, urbanization acts as one of the factors that increase the consumption of ready-made meals. Housing is concentrated on the outskirts, while jobs are increasingly located in city centres (***). The commuting induced by this double concentration reduce the amount of time ...

2.4 An increasingly demanding demand

More and more consumers are using home and office delivery to eat their lunch or dinner. With a capitalization of just under $*.* billion, Deliveroo can potentially represent a threat to the ready-made meals market consumed by workers who prefer speed, and have been consuming ready-made meals until now. [***]

The food consumption ...


3.1 Organization of market players and distribution

The market can be broken down into two main categories :

The manufacturers (***) The distributors (***)

The the manufacturers' market is an oligopoly since a few companies control the market (***).

Distribution of prepared meals:

There are no exact statistics on the distribution of ready meals in supermarkets. However, it is possible to give ...

3.2 A market dominated by large companies

A few large companies dominate the French market with their brands distributed in large and small stores :

Distribution of total number of prepared meals to be reheated in the microwave France, ****, in % Source: ****

Several insights can be drawn from this data. First of all, we can segment the market into * roughly ...

3.3 The French productive fabric

As can be seen from the graphs below, the market for ready meals is growing in number. The market is thus becoming slightly denser with new players entering the market at a rate of around *% per year.

Change in the number of enterprises classified under NAF code **.**Z - Manufacture of ...


4.1 Product typology and production process

Product classification:

There are many ready-made meals available on the market. We can start by classifying them according to the type of products used in the manufacturing process:

ready-made meat dishes ; ready-made pasta dishes ; prepared fish dishes ; potato-based dishes ; pizzas/quiches/pies

It is also possible to classify them according to ...

4.2 Offers in all price ranges

The prices of ready-made meals vary little - most are located between *,*€ and *€ . However, it is possible to note some differences according to the nature of the products available on the websites of the major distribution brands :

The classic" range, whose products are nothing special - they are neither produced by ...

4.3 An offer in full metamorphosis

Upmarketing of certain ready-made meals:

As the range of ready-made products expands with retailers' own brands, companies that have been in the market for a long time, or new entrants, are seeking to distinguish themselves by offering premium products. Such a trend is manifested through the product development :

Better quality : This ...

4.4 New market trends

One of the problems raised by ready meals is the use of single-use and controversial plastic. In response to the growing concern of the French about the environment, some brands such as Fleury Michon are launching ranges of ready meals sold in wooden trays. With this approach, the brand manages to ...


5.1 Current regulations

Health scandals regularly make the headlines (***), despite the rules in place, the main points of which are [***]:

In the context of heat preservation

The raw materials : The following requirements must be met: they must be considered fit for consumption and show no sign of deterioration; Packaging - storage : As soon as ...

5.2 Future regulations

October **, ****, the "nutri-score" indication has become the only recognized nutrition labelling model . Depending on the nutritional quality of the product, a colour code ranging from green (***) informs the consumer about his purchase.

Its limit: it remains optional. Although some manufacturers are committed to displaying it on their packaging (***) others refuse to ...


6.1 Segmentation

6.2 Website traffic of ready-made meal companies in France

Web traffic of the main websites of ready-made meals manufacturers in France France, ****-****, in thousands of visits Source: ****

Web traffic of the main websites of ready-made meal distributors in France France, ****-****, in thousands of visits Source: ****

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Reviews (1)

Reviews (1)

The ready meal market - France

Publicado en 26/11/2020 by Lucie Piette - Cooperl

Good synthesis of the market with interesting figures

Businesscoot Response:

Hello Lucie, Thank you for your feedback. We are happy to read that you were completely satisfied with the content of the study. :)

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