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Embrace Convenience: The Rise of Prepared Foods in Grocery Stores

In today's fast-paced world, convenience reigns supreme. With hectic schedules and a desire for simplicity, consumers are increasingly turning to prepared foods for quick and easy meal solutions. This trend has witnessed a significant uptick in recent years, with grocery retailers expanding their offerings to meet the growing demand. According to a recent survey conducted by Progressive Grocer’s annual Consumer Expenditures Study[1], two-thirds of shoppers purchased prepared foods in the past month alone, indicating a clear shift in consumer behavior.

Catering to Millennials and Gen Z

While convenience is universally desired, it's particularly pronounced among Millennials and Gen Z consumers. These demographics, known for their on-the-go lifestyles and penchant for exploration, are driving the surge in prepared food purchases. Research by the Economic Research Service[2] reveals that Millennials are 30% more likely to purchase prepared foods than any other demographic, followed closely by Gen Z. Whether it's a busy professional grabbing lunch between meetings or a college student looking for a quick dinner option, Millennials, and Gen Z are leading the charge in embracing the convenience of prepared meals.

Seizing Growth Opportunities

For grocery retailers, the prepared foods category represents a significant growth opportunity. According to a Global Perishable Prepared Food Market Research Report[3] the market for prepared foods is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% over the next five years, reaching multimillions by 2031. By offering a diverse range of high-quality, ready-to-eat options, retailers can attract a broader customer base and increase foot traffic in their stores. From gourmet salads and artisanal sandwiches to hearty entrees and decadent desserts, the possibilities are endless.

The Power of Local Partnerships

One strategy for success in the prepared foods market is to partner with local brands. These partnerships not only allow retailers to tap into the expertise and creativity of established professionals but also enable them to offer unique flavor profiles and regional specialties that resonate with their customer base. Consumers are increasingly seeking out locally sourced and artisanal food options, making local partnerships a powerful differentiator for retailers.

Enter Riceland Foods: Elevating Prepared Foods

As a leading rice miller and supplier, Riceland Foods is well-positioned to partner with grocery retailers to elevate their prepared food offerings. With our commitment to quality and innovation, we can help retailers develop new and exciting flavor profiles that set their prepared meals apart from the competition. Whether it's incorporating our premium rice varieties into savory rice bowls or creating delicious side dishes using our wholesome grains, Riceland Foods can add a touch of authenticity and flavor to any prepared food menu.

In conclusion, the rise of prepared foods presents an exciting opportunity for grocery retailers to meet the evolving needs of today's consumers. By embracing convenience, catering to the preferences of Millennials and Gen Z, and partnering with local brands like Riceland Foods, retailers can position themselves for success in this rapidly growing category. With a focus on quality, creativity, and innovation, the possibilities for growth are endless. As the prepared foods market continues to expand, now is the time for retailers to seize the opportunity and offer their customers the convenience and quality they crave.

[1] McTaggart, Jenny.“75th Consumer Expenditures Study: Taking The Pulse of Shopper Attitudes.”Progressive Grocer, April 17, 2024. 

[2] Kuhns, Annemarie,and Michelle Saksena. “Food Purchase Decisions of Millennial Households ...”ERS - USDA, December 2017. 

[3] “Global PerishablePrepared Food Market Research Report 2022.” Global Perishable Prepared FoodMarket – Industry Reports, July 26, 2022.