Convenience Foods in the U.S., Volume 1: Fresh Prepared Deli and Packaged Foods

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Published Dec 1, 2007 | 199 Pages | Pub ID: LA1486830

Following in the footsteps of Whole Foods, food retailers industry-wide have awakened to the fact that—when it comes to offering fresh prepared meals that are both convenient and appealing—they are often in a better position than restaurants to meet the increasingly specific needs of busy Americans. Accordingly, food retailers are emphasizing highly customized prepared foods for time-pressed shoppers to eat in or take out, and counting on gains in perimeter departments to help offset sluggish center-store sales. A key thrust is offering consumers healthier eating choices, given the juggling act most Americans are doing with food nutrition and convenience. For their part, marketers of packaged fresh convenience foods—including Fresh Express (Chiquita), Kraft, ConAgra, General Mills and Dole—are launching products that invite consumers to customize their own quick meals by combining pre-packaged and pre-cooked components.

This report examines the U.S. market for fresh prepared convenience foods sold refrigerated or hot to consumers at retail, through outlets including supermarkets, mass-merchandiser supercenters, warehouse clubs, convenience stores and vending. These products include prepared meals, entrees and side dishes that require no or little preparation beyond, for example, heating up or adding salad dressing. (Frozen convenience foods are covered in the companion volume to this report: Convenience Foods in the U.S., Volume 2: Frozen Prepared Meals, Entrees, Appetizers and Snacks.) Packaged Facts divides the market into two classifications:

  • Deli foods, including self-service and full-service deli items prepared in-store by food retailers for take-out or on-site consumption, such as rotisserie meats and other entrees, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, fruit and vegetable trays, side dishes, pizza and soup.
  • Packaged foods, including fresh refrigerated prepared foods that arrive at the store packaged and ready to be sold, often under leading national or regional brands, across ten categories: fresh-cut salad, dinners/entrees, lunch kits, prepared salad/fruit/coleslaw, side dishes, appetizers/snack rolls, hand-held non-breakfast entrees, fresh soup, pizza/pizza kits and breakfast entrees.

For each classification, the report provides extensive retail sales breakouts along with an examination of consumer trends, the competitive situation and future trends, such as the shift back toward smaller stores and hybridized food retailers/restaurants. It details marketers and brand shares across all ten packaged categories, and analyzes consumer attitudes toward nutrition and time constraints on a channel by channel basis. Companies profiled include major retailers emphasizing fresh prepared foods including Safeway, Whole Foods, online grocer FreshDirect LLC, and Tesco—whose new Fresh & Easy convenience store format is predicted to cause “seismic shifts” in this market—and marketers of fresh packaged foods Kraft Foods and Chiquita Brands International.

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