UK lockdown encouraging home cooking causes prepared meals projected value-growth decline to -1.3%

As people adjust to cooking at home, demand for bakery and raw ingredients has shown resilience to the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19; conversely, prepared meals have been severely impacted by the current landscape with the lockdown reigniting a passion for home cooking within UK households, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s forecasts and baseline data are revised weekly to account for the developing COVID-19 scenario; following this week’s adjustments, the company predicts that the prepared meal category will change from an annual value-growth of 2.0% to a -1.3% decline over 2020, reflecting not just the industry and sector outlooks, but also consumer behavior and cultural shifts the UK is seeing*.

Fred Diamond, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Ultimately, there is less need for prepared meals – this category’s success depended on increasingly busy, on-the-go lifestyles that limited consumers’ time to cook when they got home. However, in a world where people aren’t commuting back and forth from work, they’ve suddenly found themselves with an abundance of time in the evenings.”

Just as ready meals have seen a dip in their projected growth, the bakery and cereals category, which includes baking ingredients, baking mixes or dough products, is expected to retain positive value-growth of 1.9% over 2020, demonstrating strong resilience from COVID-19*.

Diamond explains: “There are obvious reasons for these big changes in consumer’s eating habits; more free time to experiment and show-off one’s culinary skills amid lockdown being a prime example. Consumers are baking more as a way to satiate their boredom, as well as maintain a proactive lifestyle – although their movements maybe restricted, they can regain some control in the kitchen.”

This is further supported by GlobalData’s survey findings in which 45% of UK consumers claimed to be experimenting with new recipes since the outbreak**.

Diamond adds: “The lockdown is clearly a knock on effect of having less choice – options to dine out have been limited, thus consumers are taking it upon themselves to replicate sensory experiences within their own home. Companies including McDonald’s and Nando’s recently been releasing ‘secret’ recipes further cements this; it encourages consumers to ‘relive’ their favorite dining experiences whilst participating in a connected, online discussion.”

* GlobalData Market Data: COVID-19 Impact Market Model – Consumer Goods – April 15th Update – USD value, UK, YoY 2020

** GlobalData Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker Consumer Survey – UK – Week 2 – strongly/somewhat agree

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