Ready meal generic readymeal microwave dinner curry

Comparing the prices of ready meal products

Behind the numbers

Ready meals offer a solution for on-the-go shoppers and those seeking an evening meal. This week’s data shows how retailers are expanding margins and increasing profits. 

Seven out of the 12 lines examined are priced by a majority of retailers above their most-common price. Take Bisto’s Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie. Seventy-four per cent of retailers charge up to £2.50, while 76% charge up to £3.50 for the latter, compared to their shared most-common price of £1.49. Similarly, 69% charge up to £3.49 for the brand’s Bangers & Mash variety, compared to its most-common price of £1.69. Bisto’s Beef Hotpot, however, is an outlier, with 57% sticking to the most-common price of £1.69, with 37% pricing only at £2.30. 

Conversely, Rustlers All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin isn’t as flexible. Seventy-eight per cent charge £1.79, with just 21% stretching that as high as £1.99. 

Ready meals price checker

FRAY BENTOS CHICKEN MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE 380G

Use the price-checker chart to see what the most common prices are for a key line in the category.

FRAY BENTOS CHICKEN MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE 380G

Retailer views on ready meals

“It’s a funny time to ask about ready meals because we see a drop off when the weather gets warmer, and that’s coincided with a price increase. We’re not sure if our slowdown is solely down to the weather or if there’s a price impact. The Jack’s range is two-for-£6 – it used to be two-for-£5. We would be expecting to see sales back up from mid-September, but it’s a big price increase. Our value range is selling more, and we are wondering whether we will start selling more frozen ready meals that are more competitively priced.”

“We stock quite a few frozen and refrigerated ready meals. Our suppliers are Eden Farm Hulleys and Booker deliveries of Jack’s and Country Choice lines. Refrigerated and frozen lines both have their own shoppers. The good thing about the category is it’s a straightforward range, people know what they’re going to get. You have your chicken dinners, but also curries and Chinese meals. The vegan category is also growing rapidly across frozen and chilled, more people are going for it. We have a vegan fish & chips, which does well.”

Ready meal price distribution

Use the price distribution table to see the range of prices being charged on 12 key lines:

Must-stock ready meal products

Use the must-stock products chart to see the percentage of retailers charging above, below and at the most-common price:

How to use this data

1Use the price-checker table to see what the most common prices are for a key line in the category 

2Use the price distribution chart to see the range of prices being charged on 12 key lines

3Use the must-stock products table to see the percentage of retailers charging above, below and at the most-common price

Read more Pricewatch and get expert product price comparison analysis and retailer insight on all the key products in your store

Data supplied by the Retail Data Partnership, a specialist data and EPoS supplier committed to serving the independent retail sector