17th August. Posted in Blog.

The daily lives of consumers are becoming increasingly more hectic, driving the need for convenient solutions that fit in with busy schedules. Ready-to-eat meals and on-the-go options successfully fill the demand gap as required preparation and cooking times are dramatically reduced.

The global ready-to-eat meals market is expected to grow at 4% annually over the next five years to 2020, according to leading market research company, Technavio.

Food and Drink Market Research Company, Food for Thought, estimated that the European Ready Meal Market would reach €40.85 billion by 2016, a 12% increase from just three years earlier in 2013. Within Europe, three countries dominate the market and hold 60% of the sales – Germany, UK and France.

Current trends seen within the market and predicted to influence future growth are premiumisation, healthy alternatives and exotic culturally-inspired recipes.

Premiumisation in ready meals links to the growing concerns of health and wellness among consumers, whereby products assure superiority in quality, taste, freshness, nutritional content and packaging.

Natural, organic and free-from are all buzz words within the health trend. Consumers see these labels as the healthier option. Reduced salt and sugar options are also attributes that are likely attract this growing type of health conscious consumer. ‘Clean labelling’ is also important because consumers require transparency within the food chain, especially where meat, fish and poultry are involved.

Consumers are becoming much more experimental with food tastes and want the opportunity to recreate their authentic experience from a Thai, Indian or Caribbean-inspired restaurant.  This has resulted in a range of new more international ready meal solutions.  Clearly the complexity and uniqueness of these cuisines mean consumers either do not have the knowledge or the time or desire to cook these dishes from original ingredients.

Packaging plays a vital part in meeting these trends and helps drive the growth of the ready meal market across the world. Packaging needs to offer the ultimate convenience to consumers, whilst ensuring freshness and increased shelf life. Pack design also has the capability of projecting a brand’s image. Premiumisation and authenticity, for example, can be effectively created through the design, choice of material and use of colours on a pack.

Parkside Parkscribe™ technology is ideal for easy-open ready-meal packaging that meets ever-changing consumer needs within the fast-paced ready meals retail market.

Parkside’s unique laser scribing technology is used to create an integral opening of any size, shape of position on a pack which then creates a clean smooth peel performance in both film and foil laminates. In line with convenience trends, Parkscribe packaging is designed with a reclosable feature to minimise waste in the home and aid portion control; perfect for the needs of the health conscious consumer. What’s more, the smooth peel design creates less pack frustration for consumers, particularly facilitating use for the eldrly and disabled.

Parkside LIDD is a revolutionary film lidding solution for the ready meal market, which enables consumers to keep the amount of packaging used to a minimum. The laminated peelable design eliminates the need for secondary packaging, such as carton board sleeves and additional pack labelling. This reduces pack costs by around 10% and weight by up to 45%, which minimises transportation costs and the overall pack carbon footprint. What’s more, shelf presence is also maximised as the printed top web ensures branding is clearly visible for the consumer front of pack. All the necessary legal information is then visible on the underside of the film lamination once removed prior to the cooking process in the microwave or oven.

In addition, Parkside LIDD Vented has venting incorporated into the film design that releases pack pressure during the hea
ting process to ensure complete consumer safety on opening.

The ready meal market has gone through turbulent times in recent years but once again it is developing at a quick and exciting pace and it is vital that packaging manufacturers innovate to meet the dynamic needs of today’s consumers.

For more information on the packaging solutions mentioned please visit www.parksideflex.com