Ready meal sales in the UK hit £2.3 billion over the last year, according to market research and shopper intelligence firm IRI.
It is believed that this is largely due to consumers dining out let and instead opting for premium ready meals, Food Manufacture reports.
Traditional British premium ready meals saw unit growth by seven per cent and eight per cent in value growth over the last year.
Brits are going upmarket with their choices, it seems, with posh, higher-priced chilled ready meals representing two-thirds of sales, according to the research. IRI noted that people seem to be looking for quality, good value products again, instead of just going for the cheapest option on sale.
Some 92 million packs were sold over the last year, which brought revenue up to a total of £293 million.
Richard Moule, director of analytics and shopper knowledge at IRI, told the publication: “Consumers can have a pretty good quality meal and a bottle of wine in the comfort of their own home for as little as £10 if they buy a ‘ready meal deal’ offered by Tesco, Marks & Spencer and other supermarkets”.
Mr Moule said the recession had shifted consumer spending to cope with a limited disposable income. This led to a surprise boom in the sales of ready meals.
Indeed, last year British shoppers spent an impressive £305 million on chilled ready meals, which averaged out at more than 150m packs.
Unfortunately, despite this boost, the overall market of frozen and chilled foods has been in decline as the popularity of consumers cooking their own meals increased.
However, Mr Moule said the UK being “obsessed with cookery programmes” would not spell the end for ready meals, as people’s actual ability to cook had “fallen off a cliff”.