The worldwide delicatessen market

Due to consumers’ lack of time, their unwillingness to cook or quite simply for convenience, delicatessen products enjoy huge popularity around the world. The global market of ready meals alone is worth $228 billion in turnover, and the sector should continue to grow annually by 4.3% between now and 2023, according to Statista.

North America and Europe leading the way

On this market, North American and European countries rank among the biggest consumers in the world. And most notably the United States, the world’s leading country for the consumption of ready meals, accounting for 20% of the global market, or $68 billion of revenue. The Americans are regular consumers of ready-made dishes: 28.3 kg per year and per capita.

Europe is also fond of ready meals and arrive in second place behind the United States, with a market worth an estimated $52 billion, or 23% of worldwide turnover for ready meals.

In Europe, the United Kingdom leads the way in the consumption of this type of prepared food, with average per capita consumption of 19 kg per year. France follows closely behind at 18 kg per year and per person. Germany, meanwhile, is ranked third with average annual per capita consumption of 12.7 kg.

Together, the United Kingdom, France and Germany account for half of the sales of ready meals in Europe. The market is thus concentrated essentially around these three countries.

Ready meals elsewhere in the world

Outside North America and Europe, the consumption of ready meals is not as widespread. At the present time, the market is therefore dominated by mainly wealthier nations.

However, consumer habits are starting to change in certain parts of the world such as Asia.

Asian countries currently consume very few ready meals: average consumption amounts to only 3.5 kg per year and per person. This is nearly half the amount that Americans eat. Whilst the market is relatively small, it is nonetheless very dynamic, with 5% average annual growth anticipated between now and 2023.

Delicatessen products in France

As the second biggest consumers of ready meals in Europe, French people appreciate these products for many reasons. The market is worth €4.7 billion in France. According to Nielsen, delicatessen dishes represent 6.3% of all food products sold in the country in 2017. This figure is 1.2 points higher than in 2016.

This popularity has stood the test of time thanks to the innovation displayed by industry professionals, who have adapted their offer to meet new consumer demands.

The delicatessen category has indeed seen substantial change over the years in France, influenced by powerful trends in favour of healthier, organic or lighter products. This has resulted in the outstanding popularity of products such as salads, vegan dishes or organic delicatessen products: in the space of a year, their sales grew by 37.2%, according to IRI.

However, the most consumed ready meals in France remain meat-based dishes, representing approximately 38% of overall sales. Pizzas, quiches and tarts arrive in second place with 27%, and ready meals based on seafood are ranked third, with 20%.

The delicatessen business at SIAL

Encompassing the categories of ready meals, soups, salads, antipasti, starters, fresh pasta, fresh ready-to-eat products and snack solutions, the full range of delicatessen products can be found at SIAL Paris. The 2022 edition welcomed 300 exhibitors offering a delicatessen range, with the vast majority - 90% - from outside France.

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