Conveniently Convenient

Written by Samantha Firsow, Market Insights Consultant, Solutions & Innovation at IRI

“Time is an invaluable asset, so we carefully prioritise and optimise how we spend it. We search for and embrace solutions that deliver time savings in all aspects of our lives. We spend on average 32 minutes cooking a main meal during the work week. Therefore, it is no surprise we are always on the lookout for shortcuts when it comes to purchasing, preparing, cooking and cleaning-up after our meals. In fact, 42 percent of 18 to 44 year olds rely on convenience products to make cooking simple and quick [1].

Mouth-watering Foodservice

Competition for share of mouth continues to evolve and intensify for supermarkets and pre-packaged food manufacturers. Foodservice continues to develop and accelerate at a faster rate than pre-packaged grocery [2], as it offers variety, experimentation, speed, ease and flexibility. When we asked New Zealander’s what they did in the in the past week, four-in-ten of us have eaten out in a restaurant or café making this a popular past time [1].

A large proportion of New Zealanders indicated that they purchased take-out or ordered home delivery in the past week. These patterns are more pronounced amongst 18 to 44 year olds (73 percent and 17 percent respectively) [1].

Furthermore, the rise of digital means we have even higher expectations when it comes to convenience. For example, amongst 18-44 year olds who claim to have Uber Eats in their area, 39 percent have used this service [1]. Building on this, in January this year, Coles and Uber announced a partnership to deliver hot food direct to Australian households.

Friction-Free Food

Demand for convenience style meal-options delivered +6.5 percent value growth over the past year, which was on top of +7.8 percent the year before [3]. Three-in-five 18-44 year old New Zealander’s have cooked a ready-meal in the past week, the epitome of efficiency-oriented meal solutions, delivering friction-free in-home cooking experiences [1].

  • All-in-one chilled meals contributed $5.3 million growth (+37.6 percent), driven by ethnic inspired dishes from brands such as Seasoned Foods, Tulsi, Simply Dinner and Just Cook it for Less.
  • Frozen meals delivered $1.9 million growth (+5.5 percent), with diverse offerings such as Watties Snack Meals (single serve), McCain Slow Cooked (premium restaurant style) and Tomorrow’s Meals (quality meals for the family).
  • A sizable slice of growth came from pizza, delivering $3.6 million (+9.6 percent chilled or frozen), as we bring the out of home experience, home. Brands driving growth include Ristorante, Romanos and Chicago which offer authentic restaurant quality, delicious and unique flavours. Premium Frozen Pizza delivered 78 percent share of total frozen pizza growth. Vegetarian and small format sizes also grew in popularity [3].
  • Other pockets of convenience food growth are frozen and chilled vegetarian meals, snacks and accompaniments (+25.0 percent and +20.5 percent respectively), with Bean Supreme and Leader the most significant contributors. Fresh pasta and sauce (+5.4 percent), chilled soups (+4.4 percent) and sandwiches (+23.1 percent) also grew strongly [3].

New Generation Gastronomy

Meal kit subscription services have a growing presence in New Zealand, with 7 percent of Kiwis having ever tried them and 3 percent regularly using them. In the past week, one-in-ten 18 to 44 year olds have used any form of meal kit, either from a subscription service or supermarket [1]. These designed, pre-proportioned kits satisfy the desire to cook balanced, healthy and delicious meals almost from scratch. They eliminate the guesswork, encourage experimentation and customisation in a sustainable, affordable and convenient way. International meal kits within the supermarket delivered +$1.9 million (+18.4 percent) value growth in the last year, driven by brands such as One Night In Mexico, Farrah’s and Marion’s Kitchen [3].

More than 70 percent of New Zealander’s agree that they cook from scratch most of the time [1]. While there is a desire for speed, this is balanced against a deficiency of cooking skills, a desire to do-it-ourselves all blended with an interest in flavour experimentation and the allure of ethnic and specialty cuisines. Step reduction provides innumerable opportunities to add value and elevate cooking from ‘scratch’ while also delivering the potential for growth across the supermarket landscape.

 Convenience and Foodservice Convergence

New Zealanders are extending their search across channels for convenient meal solutions that suit all occasions. It is only logical therefore, that channel blurring between foodservice and convenience continues, especially since on-the-go food growth was highly resilient during 2018 petrol price hikes. Offering more meal solutions strengthens the petrol and convenience channels proposition as a destination, with on-the-go value providing growth of +6.3 percent (compared with +2.1 percent total). Hearty hot foods: hot dogs, bites, Cordon Bleu and toasties as well as healthier cold foods: sandwiches, wraps and salads are all delivering [4]. In New Zealand, a partnership emerged six months ago between BP and Wishbone, with BP stocking Wishbone ready-meal solutions further highlighting progress in this space."

Therefore, are you thinking about?



  • [1] IRI 2018 State of the Industry Report - Grocery
  • [2] NZ Stats Retail Trade Survey Dec 2018
  • [3] IRI MarketEdge (Grocery) New Zealand MAT Value 03/03/19
  • [4] IRI MarketEdge (Petrol & Convenience) New Zealand MAT Value 17/02/19 [2 year trading]