The chilled ready meals market is worth just over £1bn, with English and Italian ready meals accounting for about a third of these sales each.

Indian is the third-biggest cuisine, accounting for just over 15% of the sales in this market. In the past year, it has grown by 5.6%, but this lower-than-average growth has led to a slight decrease in market share.

The percentage of households purchasing Spanish ready meals at least once a year has grown from 4.8% to 7.4%, making it the best performer in the category. American and Mexican ready meals, in contrast, are both declining. French and Oriental ready meals have seen double-digit growth in the past year, with more shoppers purchasing into these cuisines.

Shoppers are buying into French cuisine more often than a year ago, possibly due to a decrease in price, although this remains the most expensive cuisine in this market. Own label dominates this market, accounting for almost 93% of sales and growing ahead of the market, meaning that it continues to gain share from brands.

The largest over-trade indexes in chilled ready meals are for those retailers with the most upmarket profile: Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury's. Marks & Spencer accounts for over 24% of category sales but just 3% of total grocery sales.

Focus On World Cuisine