The convenience food and drink category is dynamic and characterised by solutions that are easier to prepare, transport and consume. The growth in the market stems from the needs of consumers who have increasingly busy lifestyles.
The flourishing market is forecast to be worth £21.7 billion by 2021, a significant leap from the £15.1 billion that was recorded in 2015, according to IGD Retail Analysis.
Convenience-craving consumers expect fresh, high quality, thoughtfully sourced, nutritious food and drink options that are accessible and affordable. Ready to cook, ready to eat, ready-made, ready to roast, food-to-go, pre-prepared and pre-cooked…the list of options are endless.
It is the modern dilemma that consumers are not able to find the time to prepare and cook food in the way they did even twenty years ago. Whether it be prepared vegetables, chicken or full meals, it’s now commonplace to find a variety of ready to cook options on supermarket shelves. Today’s range of ready to eat foods is also so extensive that consumers can find almost anything their heart desires, without being restricted by the need for a microwave, kettle or oven.
It seems everyone is on-the-go - working on the go, reading on the go, texting on the go, drinking on the go and of course eating on the go is the new normal. Consumers therefore require snacks and meal solutions that are quick and easy to open, prepare and consume. It goes without saying that packaging should be easy to open, easily portable and the contents easy to dispense.
LINPAC offers a range of on-the-go pack formats. Its Vertiwrap solution, a contemporary pack design, manufactured in rPET is perfect for the consumption of wraps and tortillas on the move. Top hinged or domed hinged containers in the range, such as the LINPAC funky and functional Pyramid Packs and New Leaf and TB Salad Collection solutions, are ideal for cold menu options that meet the needs of busy, health-conscious consumers.
As a leading fresh food packaging manufacturer, LINPAC has analysed the trends that are set to continue shaping the convenience food and packaging market in the coming years.
Personalisation, diversification and free-from are huge rising trends expected to affect the convenience food development. Plant-based meat substitutes, natural drinks and fortified foods are all forecast to make a routine appearance in the various convenience sections of retail outlets.
The health-focused convenience food theme is also picking up momentum on a global scale as healthy eating continues to become a way of life for many consumers. With consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables on the increase and shoppers constantly on the lookout for healthier alternatives, retailers are listening and reacting accordingly.
Millennials in particular are interested in becoming healthier and are not shy about publicising their views on social media. Instagram and other social media apps are a great source of acknowledgement for the food industry when it gets it right but can also challenge the industry where products are deemed unhealthy or inconvenient in their design.
The convenience market shows no signs of slowing, with innovative solutions emerging every day that address new trends in the market. The food and drink sectors are set to become more convenience and affordability focussed, with brands offering increasingly healthy, flavoursome and authentic foods. To stay ahead, brands need~ to keep an eager eye on emerging needs and innovative product launches to ride the convenience wave.