Waiter holding a tray

Modern convenience foods are poised to get an upgrade in 2019.

Consumers are no longer satisfied with bog-standard ready-done meals and will seek out dishes that match their premium expectations, according to market researchers at Mintel.

The growth in dining out has opened up people’s culinary horizons and consumers now want convenience foods and drinks that chime with healthy eating aspirations, global food flavours and the drive for personalised dining choices.

Manufacturers of pre-prepared meals also need to respond to the competition posed by home food delivery services such as Deliveroo and market leader Just Eat.

Mintel predicts the emergence of a new wave of “short cuts” for diners including “meal kits sold at retail, foodservice-inspired packaged beverages, and a new generation of prepared meals, sides and sauces that emulate the flavours and formats of restaurant meals.”

Advancements in technology will also conspire to elevate expectations about convenience food and drink options, from planning to shopping to the preparation of food.

Additionally, interest in premium convenience will not be limited to dinner-time, creating opportunities for every meal, snack, and beverage break.

The two other trends pinpointed for 2019 by Mintel are “evergreen consumption” (described as a “circular view of sustainability” taking in a product’s entire lifecycle, with responsibilities for suppliers and consumers) and “through the ages.”

The latter is inspired by the wellness agenda and takes it forward to look at the notion of healthy ageing. Expect to see new food and drink products that address specific needs associated with older populations such as brain and eye health.