According to global market research company Kantar TNS, sales of chilled foods continued to rise in 2018, with the total value reaching £13.2bn, up by 1.7% from £12.97bn in 2017.
The popularity of chilled vegetarian options led to a 19.5% increase, while mixed tray salads also saw a significant increase of 23.8%.
Other chilled healthy options, such as prepared fruit, also rose by 8.6%. However, chilled cakes and chilled desserts suffered a small drop in sales, down by 2.5% and 1.5% respectively.
The results revealed that the appetite for major multiples’ retail wraps appears to be waning. The figures were down by 6.9%, however sandwiches rose by 5.3%.
“More and more people are seeking alternative food options – whether they are health, ethical or lifestyle-related,” said Dr Clive Woolley, group technical director at Oscar Mayer and CFA chair.
“The chilled food sector is again proving we can help consumers satisfy their needs and demands. We’re delighted to be able to produce exciting, innovative and tasty food that fits our increasingly busy lives.”
The rise in healthy foods, particularly vegan and plant-based options, has been widely reported over the past year.
Yesterday (16 October), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) united with members of the beef industry to tackle the overwhelming popularity of its plant-based rivals, urging processors and farmers to increase awareness of the benefits of meat.
“We need to deliver effective campaigns to promote quality British beef,” Stuart Roberts, vice president of the National Farmers’ Union, told the Defra committee.
“Over the summer I urged processors to consider matching industry investment pound for pound. I now put this to Government to help the industry write its own narrative and work towards driving demand at home and increasing our markets abroad.”