Growth of the fresh-cut and pre-prepared convenience food market despite the crisis

Comfort, quality and health are the three variables of an equation with a sure result: growth. Despite the rigors of the economic situation – leaving negative years behind – and contrary to what one might think, the market for fresh-cut and pre-prepared convenience products continues to grow. And it is doing so at a significant pace. According to data provided by the consulting firm IRI for the February 2015 TAM, this category recorded a sales volume of 71.7 million kilograms and a turnover of 407.3 million euros. These figures represent a 5.8% increase in volume and a 10.9% increase in value compared to the same period of the previous year. A note: the growth in value of the category in the last three years exceeds 15% and 57 million euros.

With the sole exception of dehydrated vegetables, all the segments that make up the fresh-cut and pre-prepared convenience food category recorded a positive evolution, in some cases more than positive. Fresh-cut salads continued to account for the highest sales volume (35.4 million kilos, almost 50% of the total), which was also reflected in a higher value (225 million euros, more than 55%). It was also the segment with the best performance in the period under analysis, with an increase in volume of 6.6% and in value of 14.8%. The performance of fresh-cut vegetables and fruit (the second most important segment of the category) was also very positive, with sales of 25.7 million kilos and a turnover of 139 million euros, representing increases of 7.9% and 9.2% in volume and value, respectively.

For their part, pre-prepared convenience products took a small step forward, adding 1.1% to their sales volume (to 8.5 million kilos) and 1.4% to their sales value (from 28.8 million euros to 29.2 million euros). The only member on the negative side in terms of the evolution of the different segments was dehydrated vegetables, which fell by 11% in volume (250,000 kilos less, to 2.04 million) and 6.4% in value (one million euros lost, bringing turnover to 13.8 million).

The MDD accounts for 75% of the value

The performance of the last two years has made us forget the slowdown experienced by this category a few years ago. This turning point meant its establishment, a balancing of the “battles” on the shelves and becoming part of a shopping basket that values the “convenience” factor as an added value over a higher cost. This has also been helped by the commitment of the MDDs to this category, a commitment that has led them to achieve high shares in value and volume. At present, the share of the DMOs in the fresh-cut vegetable and fruit segment is 83% in volume (2.5 percentage points higher than in the same period of the previous year) and 75% in value (2.4 points higher). On the other hand, in the rest of the segments it is “losing steam” (in quotation marks because it seems like a joke with the data being handled). In the fresh-cut salads sector, the volume of sales of the private labels fell by 2.2 points (to 84%) and value by 3.5 points (74.8%), and in the pre-prepared convenience food sector, they now account for 51.9% of total sales volume (down 5.7 points) and 54.9% of value (down 4.5 points). As a result of these decreases, in the category as a whole, the DMDs account for 79.8% of sales volume (down 1 percentage point) and 73.1% of value (down 1.5 percentage points).

All of these factors have channeled the category into a line of growth that will undoubtedly continue in the coming years, supported by the recovery of household budgets and company investment in research and development of new products in line with consumer demand. In addition, we must take into account the youth of the category (especially in some of its segments such as fresh-cut fruit) and the incorporation of new consumers (young but also senior) who are looking to take care of their diet with fresh quality products and convenience in preparation. It is, therefore, a category with excellent development prospects. Not surprisingly, we all like to make our lives easier and more comfortable, especially when it comes to products such as fruits and vegetables.

Salads are the best sellers

Salads continue to reign supreme in the fresh-cut and pre-prepared convenience category. This segment accounts for 49.3% of the total volume and 55.3% of the value, with sales of 35.3 million kilos (+6.6%) and a value of 225 million euros (+14.8%).

Vegetables and fresh-cut fruits followed in sales volume with 25.7 million kilos (+7.9%) and in value with 139 million euros (+9.2%). In this segment, both sub-segments performed well. On the one hand, cut vegetables increased their sales volume by 8% (to 25.3 million kilos) and their value by 8.9% (from 124.8 to 135.9 million euros). And on the other hand, fruits, which advanced by 4.7% in volume (0.4 million euros) and 25.4% in value (3.1 million euros).

With a smaller share in the category as a whole are the pre-prepared convenience products -vegetables, vegetables and other cooked products marketed refrigerated-, whose sales account for 11.9% of the total volume and 7.2% of the value, reaching 8.5 million kilos (+1.1%) and 29.2 million euros (+1.4%) in the period under analysis. Lastly, the dehydrated vegetable segment, which with 2.8% of total sales volume reached two million kilos sold (-11%) and with 3.4% of value reached 13.8 million euros (-6.4%).

Source: RevistaAral