Where Consumers Shop for Cooking Ingredients and Meals

May 2024

The cooking ingredients and meals industry saw the rapid growth of online sales during the pandemic turn to a slower pace as consumers returned to brick-and-mortar stores for in-person interactions and the possibility to save. Inflationary pressures increased traffic to discounters and warehouse clubs from shoppers who tried to economise and shop for best-value deals. Shopping for cooking ingredients and meals is expected to become more calculated but full of innovative solutions.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Search for best value rises

Inflationary pressures have forced many households to turn to more affordable options. Shopping at discounters and warehouse clubs has become more prominent as they can offer best prices for staple products like edible oils. Additionally, consumers have turned to private label to save. Improved assortment, better quality and various quality levels mean that various consumers can find a product to suit their needs and budget in the private label range.

Commodity volatility causes market uncertainty

The cooking ingredients and meals industry was gravely affected by commodity market fluctuations over the historic period. Products like edible oils saw prices go up in the high double-digit range due to supply chain disruptions and unpredictable harvests. Market volatility is forcing manufacturers to revise ingredients and sourcing practices to ensure steady product supply albeit at a higher retail price.

Premium solutions in demand despite price pressures

Premium products are still in demand. Solutions providing convenience, high quality, improved flavour profile and various health claims are well received in the market. Often, online retailing creates a launching pad for new products as e-stores can provide full control of sales and inventory without committing to strict grocery retailer contracts.

New shopping habits ensure steady e-commerce growth

E-commerce growth is subsiding in cooking ingredients and meals; however, there is still potential. Consumers have formed a habit of shopping online for certain groceries, especially convenient solutions like meal kits.

Consumers to become more calculated

The forecast period is expected to show signs of stabilisation both in industry sales and in channels. After the turbulent historic period with lockdowns and high inflation, consumers are expected to become more cautious and calculated when it comes to shopping and budgeting for groceries likes meals, sauces or edible oils.

Key findings
Polarisation becoming more pronounced in cooking ingredients and meals
Unpredictable raw ingredient prices hinder industry growth prospects
Meals and soups in the US ensures industry stability
E-commerce fortifies its standing cooking ingredient and meal sales with a 10% share
E-commerce sees growth stabilisation in all regions after rapid growth
Shoppers form a habit of frequent shopping online
Inflationary pressures attract more consumers looking for best prices
Convenience and motivation to save are readjusting shopping habits
Expansion into premium segment helps discounters attract shoppers
Discounter Jer ó nimo Martins achieves growth with its affordable assortment
Grocery retailers gain back shares in the post-pandemic market
Convenience stores gain back lost shares as workers return to offices
Rising cost of edible oils drives demand for private label products
Private label emerges even in regions with low private label penetration
More than half of US consumers turn to private label when choosing vegetable and seed oils
E-commerce growth slows in cooking ingredients and meals
Meal kit companies like HelloFresh are pivotal in future e-commerce growth
Meal and soups main contributor to e-commerce growth in cooking ingredients and meals
E-commerce boom helps launch new ready meals brands
Growth potential for online sales lies outside of Western Europe and North America
Food e-commerce growth slows down in post-pandemic market
Future of e-commerce growth lies in emerging markets moving to urban environments
The US is the dominant market for cooking ingredients and meals
Diverse nature of cooking ingredients and meals shines in online retailing
Seeking best value to become the new norm in cooking ingredients and meals
Slower but stable growth expected for online sales of cooking ingredients and meals
Key takeaways


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