Ready meals, online groceries and food delivery services are rapidly expanding across a global market. According to the food and grocery research body IGD (Institute Grocery Distribution), the online grocery market will double its value to £17.2 billion between 2015 and 2020, a total increase of 3% within the UK grocery market. Within this growing market, the ready meal category shows an increasing demand in the UK, as today’s shoppers are asking for easy to prepare food at a low price. The UK is one of Europe’s major consumers of ready meals and according to Eagle, the sales of prepared ready meals in the UK has risen from £3.8 billion in 2012 up to £4.9 billion in 2017 - an increase of 28.4%.
In terms of online grocery purchases, AmazonFresh is the largest online retailer and grocery delivery service in the world and it is rapidly growing its share in the now lucrative market. One innovation Amazon is actively investigating is the application of a modern military technique known as Microwave-Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) to produce non-refrigerating ready meals. The application of this technology into the mainstream grocery market could see the company significantly reduce the price of ready meals by cutting costs on cooling of the product through the supply chain.