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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 11:24 EDT

Prepared Meal Marketers Battle for Share of Takeout Dollars

October 13, 2008

There’s a battle emerging around the American dinner table as new solutions for prepared meals arise. Addicted to restaurant-quality fare, consumers are seeking meals that also meet their demands for convenience, flavor and variety, according to Prepared Meal Solutions: Culinary Trend Mapping Report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. The report outlines this new competitive landscape and offers strategic solutions for meal marketers.

Chef-Inspired Meals. Following in the footsteps of successful chain restaurant Curbside Pickup, offering signature dishes on the fly to harried diners, fine-dining chefs, like Chicago’s Charlie Trotter, are jumping into the prepared meal ring with upscale versions of meals consumers cook at home. Neighborhood Takeout Boutiques counter with easily accessible, bistro-quality comfort food with a local feel and rotating menus.

Grocery Mimics Restaurants. Frozen and refrigerated prepared meals imitate these restaurant-centric options, offering compelling competition. Stylish Packaged Foods lure diners with inviting dishes often influenced by hot ethnic food trends. Their meaningful product claims like “Organic,”"Sustainable Seafood,”"Artisanal,” and “Authentic Recipe” are quickly leveling the playing field. Supermarket Prepared Foods compete with dynamic food courts offering everything from make-your-own pizza to noodle bars as well as improved convenience.

Consumers Demand and Get Choices. Meanwhile, new meal services, including Personal Chefs and Meal Assembly Outlets, have the unique ability to allow consumers to customize menus to meet needs and tastes. “The opportunities for manufacturers and restaurant operators,” says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD, “often consist of borrowing best practices from the other.” But there’s good news: “Consumers want choices,” Egan says, “so there is plenty of room for all prepared meal marketers around the dinner table.”

The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is co-published by the Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts. Individual issues and annual subscriptions are available at http://www.packagedfacts.com/landing/culinarytrends.asp.

About Packaged Facts – Packaged Facts publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. For more information contact Jenn Tekin at 240.747.3015, or jtekin@marketresearch.com.

About the Center for Culinary Development – CCD, a full-service food and beverage development and research company that blends culinary creativity with strategic marketing expertise for successful product innovation. Visit www.ccdsf.com, or contact Kara Nielsen at 415.693.8900 x110, kara@ccdsf.com.

 Contact: Jenn Tekin Packagedfacts.com (240) 747-3015 jtekin@marketresearch.com

SOURCE: Packaged Facts