How Covid-19 has affected the UK Food Chain

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When Covid-19 first hit our shores in 2020, neither food suppliers or consumers knew how it would badly affect the UK food chain and availability of products, from fresh to frozen and tinned.

Even before the first confirmed cases, there was a huge element of scaremongering and panic buying, with households stocking up on produce way above the norm. Supermarket shelves began to be stripped bare in a matter of days. It took supermarkets a long time to react in terms of limiting customers purchases, as opposed to filling trollies with an untold amount of goods, in order not to ‘run out’.

The Meteoric Rise of Ready-Made Frozen Meal Delivery

Whilst time and convenience have always been the reason behind people choosing ready-made meals, discerning customers still demand quality. A basic TV dinner simply will not suffice in the market today.

Furthermore, the supply of basic staples such as potatoes, rice and pasta were badly hit, meaning you could no longer make your own lasagne, chilli or a shepherd’s pie.

The fear of ‘going out’ to shops and potentially being at the mercy of contracting Covid-19, let alone facing huge queues only to find nothing in store, made more and more people turn to frozen ready meals as opposed to fresh foods, which were in short supply anyway. Not only that….no wastage!

Whilst in 2019 sales of frozen foods dropped by a small percentage, leading industry publications are on record as stating that 2020 showed a remarkable increase of up to 19% in many categories. If shoppers can get healthy produce, quality and ‘additive free’ from frozen meals, it is expected for this trend to continue.

How Consumers have changed their Food Habits

Fresh produce was the first to be affected, as even though the UK provides a great deal of food from our own resources, we still need to top up from overseas. With airlines and cross channel ferries being limited due to the rapid spread of the virus, tinned and frozen food rapidly followed in deficiency, creating long lines of shoppers outside supermarkets.

The pandemic crisis has resulted in shoppers having to move on from their customary sources, to buying ready-made frozen foods, and having them delivered to the door. The situation was further compounded by the closure of many schools where children would normally have their lunches, 5 days a week. Parents have had to ensure that freezers were stocked with good quality ready-made meals, such as those made by Hey Fresto. We are confident that we have fitted the bill, in terms of quality, supply and delivery.

Another interesting fact is that ‘millennials’ are one of the groups of people that have increased their buying on frozen meals, presumably as they have been more used to eating out than the average family. Working from home has made more and more of them turn to convenient and comfort food, that can just be whipped out of the freezer.

Most Popular Ready Made Frozen Meals by Category

A recent survey (2020) has shown the following market trends and market share, and we feature in every category:

Category  % Market Share Supplied by Hey Fresto (y/n)
English 32.8
Italian 17.2
Indian 11.2
Far East 9.0
The Americas 4.0
Mediterranean 2.0

Please note that the market share percentage provided is for all manufacturers, not simply Hey Fresto. Inside these categories, we provide both vegan and vegetarian, kids and sides all with precision portion control. We consider the tastebuds of all of our customers and continually expand our range.

View the selection of Hey Fresto tasty meals – you won’t be disappointed and your freezer will be stocked for all occasions (even pandemics!). Frozen ready meals delivered to your door are here to stay!