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Ready for better ready-made?

In the dynamic landscape of food preferences, research indicates that consumers fully embrace ready-made meals. According to a 2022 study by Mintel, 88% of UK consumers would be willing to consume a ready meal or ready-to-cook meal. “And those are not occasional indulgences,” says Lorena Gil, Category Manager at Solina. “37% of respondents dig into ready-to-cook foods at least once or twice a week, while 36% enjoy chilled ready meals equally often.”

The rationale behind this predilection may warrant examination. Various determinants manifest prominently. For 30%, convenience reigns supreme: “[it] was a dish that would take a long time to cook from scratch”. Ready meals also profile themselves as an affordable avenue for culinary exploration, with 49% considering them a cost-effective way to sample diverse cuisines. Then there’s the health component. 29% chose the ready-to-cook option because it clearly displayed good-for-you ingredients, while 27% was influenced by the meal’s balanced nutritional profile.

49% of UK consumers consider ready-meals a cost-effective way to sample diverse cuisines
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Untapped plant-based potential

Of those respondents who often eat and buy ready-to-eat foods, 63% cite them as a takeaway alternative. Plus, they’re hungry for more: 57% say that they would buy more ready meals, if only they were more widely available.

But that call for accessibility isn’t the most remarkable source of untapped potential. With the rising popularity of flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets, there’s a clear demand for plant-based options in the ready-made meal segment. 23% of respondents express interest in meals that replace animal protein with high-protein plant ingredients (think legumes, meat alternatives, etc.).

“That also ties in with consumers’ increasing appetite for more natural ingredients”, says Lorena. “Simple, transparent labels with familiar ingredients and fewer or no additives will automatically appeal to this audience.”

23%

of responsdents express interest in meals that replace animal protein with high-protein plant ingredients (think legumes, meat alternatives, etc.).

Source: Mintel

Every meal component matters

It’s obvious that people are more than ready for more ready meals – as long as they’re easy to prepare, full of flavour, packed with essential nutrients, a gateway to culinary discoveries, sustainably manufactured, and preferably plant-powered.

Standing out with plant-based ready-made meals may seem very challenging, but that’s where Solina steps up to the (dinner) plate as a one-stop shop in culinary food solutions that flavours every component of a ready meal. Next to our integrated plant-based protein solutions, our one-stop shop entails an array of customized plant-based sauces, coatings, seasonings and more. We cover everything to make ready meals matter.

Equipped with our technical expertise and culinary creativity, we stand in as strategic partner in enabling food manufacturers to create plant-based ready meals that consistently surpass expectations in taste, nutrition and functionality. Together, we’ll cater to a generation of consumers that foster good-for-you and good-for-planet indulgence – and, in that way, design the food of tomorrow.

Access 5 inspiring plant-based ready-meal concepts

What happens when you combine consumer trends and market data with our scientists’ expertise and our chefs’ creativity, and let them simmer for a while? You get five inspiring food concepts that might just lead to your next successful product innovation. Let’s get cooking.

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