Convenience Fuels Prepared-Food Purchases: Report

CHICAGO — Convenience is a key driver for U.S. consumers who are increasingly purchasing prepared foods from supermarket delis for in-home suppers, according to a report from The NPD Group.

CHICAGO — Convenience is a key driver for U.S. consumers who are increasingly purchasing prepared foods from supermarket delis for in-home suppers, according to a report from The NPD Group.

According to data and consumer comments sourced from NPD’s DeliTrack service, consumers indicated that one of the top reasons they purchase prepared foods is for an easy meal at home.

The data also showed that nearly half of deli-area prepared-food purchases are in-store decisions. According to other NPD reports on consumer shopping habits and meal planning, the top challenges consumers face when planning and shopping for meals are getting new ideas and finding meals that are quick to make. While most purchases of deli-prepared foods are driven by habit and convenience, 10% are items that buyers are trying for the first time.

The report found that approximately one in five adults purchase a prepared-food product at retail during a typical week. When making prepared-food purchase decisions, consumers’ top picks are chicken or turkey items; sandwiches; deli salads such as potato salad; and leaf salads. These four types of foods account for just over half of all deli-prepared-food purchases.

“Prepared foods represent an opportunity for growth,” Ann Hanson, executive director, product development for NPD’s food and beverage unit, said in a release. “Consumers are looking for a way around having to cook and deli-prepared foods are one solution for quick and easy meals in the home.”

Hanson added that convenience — in terms of reducing or even eliminating the amount of food preparation at home — is a trend that is expected to grow over the next decade.

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