Market Research Logo

The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals

The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals
While certain gourmet/specialty foods categories—such as gourmet coffee, gourmet chocolates, condiments, and specialty cheese—are easy to get a handle on, marketers and retailers have had a harder time developing and marketing many other gourmet foods, including gourmet meal solutions. This new Packaged Facts report offers a unique perspective on this challenging market. The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals covers two broad categories—foods, and ready-to-eat refrigerated and frozen meals. The foods category encompasses groceries such as gourmet and premium pasta, grains, canned soups, crackers, bread, snack foods, fresh produce, meat, poultry, and seafood. The ready-to-eat refrigerated and frozen meals category focuses on upscale refrigerated and frozen foods, including pizza, appetizers, entrees, dinners, and side dishes.

The U.S. Market for Gourmet and Specialty Foods and Beverages, Volumes 1-3
The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals is volume 3 in Packaged Facts’ new 3-volume market research series, The U.S. Market for Gourmet and Specialty Foods and Beverages. The series is the executive’s guide to the burgeoning market for gourmet and specialty oriented food and beverage consumption in this country. Here are expertly analyzed quantitative and qualitative data on market size and growth (covering both mass and prestige outlets), societal trends, and the competitive situation for three popular and growing food and beverage categories: Beverages and Confectionery; Gourmet Condiments/Cheese; and Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals.

Report Methodology
The information in The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals is based on both primary and secondary research. Primary research involved on-site examination of the retail milieu, interviews with marketing, public relations and industry analysts within the gourmet and specialty foods markets and consultants to the industry. Secondary research entailed data-gathering from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature. Packaged Facts has derived mass merchandiser sales figures from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) InfoScan sales-tracking data. Figures provided on national consumer advertising expenditures are based primarily on data (copyright 2002) compiled by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing communications intelligence. The analysis of consumer demographics derives from Simmons Market Research Bureau survey data for fall 2002. New product information is gathered via literature research, personal interviews and data compiled by ProductScan, a service of Marketing Intelligence Service Ltd.

This report looks at every segment of the gourmet foods/ready-to-eat meals market, examining trends for growth and projecting sales of products through 2007. It analyzes consumer demographics and their current and projected impact on sales of gourmet foods and ready-to-eat meals. It provides up-to-date competitive profiles of marketers of these foods and beverages - including a look at smaller, up-and-coming companies - and discusses the influence of demographic trends as a driver of retail trends. The report also spotlights new products and current distribution trends, and offers readers trends and marketing opportunities within the gourmet and specialty industry.

About the Author
Susan Porjes is a veteran market research analyst, having developed a specialty in writing about the food industry for market research publishers, magazines and corporations. Porjes has written several editions of The U.S. Market for Gourmet and Specialty Foods and Beverages for Packaged Facts, as well as reports on health and natural foods, frozen products and sweet baked goods. She is also the editor/publisher of Gourmasia, a bimonthly newsletter about Asian food.

What You’ll Get in this Report
Using a new data-intensive, compact format, The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals presents an incisive analysis of the market factors that continue to shape the market, including consumer trends, mergers and acquisitions, and new product developments. The report also provides up-to-date competitive profiles of leading industry players, both marketers and retailers. New to the report is a cutting-edge discussion of action points companies can use to benefit from the trends driving this market.

The report addresses the following segments:

  • The Market (including market size and composition, and projected market growth)
  • The Marketers (including share of market, where available)
  • Competitive Profiles (of mainstream marketers, as well as specialists and up-and-coming niche players, along with analyses of the products they market)
  • Retail Strategies
  • The Consumer (an analysis of current Simmons Market Research Bureau data profiling consumer demographics)
  • Trends and Opportunities

Plus, you'll benefit from extensive data, presented in easy-to-read and practical charts, tables and graphs.

Scroll to see a more detailed outline of the contents of the individual volume reports in this series.

How You Will Benefit from this Report
If your company is already competing in the gourmet or specialty markets, or is considering making the leap, you will find this report invaluable, as it provides a comprehensive package of information and insight not offered in any other single source. You will gain a thorough understanding of the current market for gourmet foods and ready-to-eat meals, as well as projected sales and trends through 2007. Contributing to that understanding will be a complete analysis of sales data from IRI and other published and trade sources, a detailed discussion of the gourmet market based on Simmons data.

This report will help:

  • Marketing Managers identify market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans for gourmet foods and ready-to-eat meals.
  • Research and development professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and explore demand for products in the gourmet and specialty food and beverage arenas.
  • Advertising agencies working with clients in food and beverage industries understand the product buyer to develop messages and images that compel consumers to purchase these products.
  • Business development executives understand the dynamics of the market and identify possible partnerships.
  • Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.


Chapter 1: Executive Summary

  • Scope and Methodology
  • Scope of Report
  • Gourmet Foods
  • Gourmet RTE Meals
  • Report Methodology
  • Retail Sales Reach $10.1 Billion in 2002
  • Table 1-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated and Frozen Meals 1998-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Gourmet Foods Category Is 58% of Total
  • Retail Channels
  • Market Growth Trends
  • Major Marketers and Brands
  • The Competitive Situation
  • Leading Marketers Spend Over $113 Million to Advertise Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals in 2002
  • Overview of Consumer Purchasing

Chapter 2: The Market

  • Market Size and Growth
  • Market Definition: Gourmet Foods and Ready-to-Eat Meals
  • Gourmet, Specialty, or Premium?
  • Two Categories: Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals
  • Methodology for Packaged Facts’ Estimates
  • Retail Sales Reach $10.1 Billion in 2002
  • Figure 2-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet/Specialty Foods, 1998- 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Gourmet Foods Grow to $5.9 Billion
  • Gourmet RTE Meals a $4.2 Billion Market
  • Table 2-1: U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 2-2: U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods Category, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 2-3: U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet RTE Meals Category, 1998-2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Market Composition
  • Retail Sales by Product Category
  • Figure 2-2: Share of Gourmet Food and RTE Meal Sales by Category, 2002 (percent)
  • Market Composition by Retail Channel
  • Supermarkets Lead Retail Market with 52% of Sales
  • Figure 2-3: Share of Gourmet Food and RTE Meal Sales by Retail Channel, 2002 (percent)
  • Market Forecasts
  • Market Dynamics
  • Ethnic Influence a Driving Force
  • Convenience a Big Selling Point
  • New Products and Technical Advances Feed Growth
  • Mainstream Marketers Go Gourmet
  • Tight Shelf Space Hinders Smaller Marketers
  • Figure 2-4: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Projected Market Growth
  • Retail Sales to Top $13.5 Billion by 2007
  • Table 2-4: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 2-5: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet Foods Category, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 2-6: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Gourmet RTE Meals
  • Category, 2002-2007 (in millions of dollars)

Chapter 3: The Competitive Situation

  • Marketers and Brands
  • Thousands of Competitors
  • Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals Leaders
  • Smaller Marketers
  • Table 3-1: Selected U.S. Marketers of Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals
  • Marketer and Brand Shares
  • Methodology
  • Gourmet Foods
  • Pepperidge Farm Dominates Premium Crackers
  • Barilla Gourmet Brand the Leading Dry Pasta
  • Nestlé Leads Refrigerated Pastas
  • Mahatma, Zatarain’s Lead Mass-Market Sales of Gourmet Rice and Grains
  • Gourmet RTE Meals
  • Kraft’s DiGiorno Frozen Pizza Is Nation’s Top Pizza Brand
  • ConAgra, Heinz Lead Premium Frozen Dinners and Entrées
  • Table 3-2: Top Marketers of Gourmet Crackers by IRI-Tracked Sales and Shares, 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 3-3: Top Marketers of Gourmet Refrigerated Pasta by IRI-Tracked Sales and Shares, 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 3-4: Top Marketers of Gourmet Rice and Rice/Grain Mixes by IRI-Tracked Sales and Shares, 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 3-5: Top Marketers of Gourmet Frozen Pizza by IRI-Tracked Sales and Shares, 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Table 3-6: Top Marketers of Gourmet Frozen Dinners/Entrees by IRI-Tracked Sales and Shares, 2002 (in millions of dollars)
  • Marketing Trends
  • Many Mainstream Marketers Are Quiet Participants
  • Many Entrepreneurs
  • Market Highly Fragmented
  • Licensing Restaurant and Chefs’ Names
  • Advertising and Promotion Trends
  • Leading National Advertisers
  • Advertising Positioning
  • Consumer Promotions
  • New Product Trends
  • A Proliferation of Products
  • Gourmet Food Trends
  • You Say Potatoes
  • Artisan and Other Breads
  • Crackers
  • Fun with Pasta
  • Premium Deli Lines
  • Duck Is Up
  • RTE Salads
  • Gourmet RTE Meal Trends
  • Upscale Home Cooking
  • Pizzeria and Restaurant-Style Pizzas
  • Value-Added Meats as a Meal Solution
  • Ethnic Flavors
  • Competition Heating Up in Premium Soups
  • Low-Carb Frozen Dinners
  • Retail and Internet Trends
  • Focus on Supermarkets
  • Focus on Warehouse Clubs
  • Focus on Natural Food Stores
  • Focus on the Web: E-Commerce

Chapter 4: Competitive Profiles

  • Competitive Profile: Barilla America, Inc
  • Corporate Background
  • Iowa Plant Helps Barilla Build U.S. Sales
  • Barilla’s Line
  • Competitive Profile: H.J. Heinz Co
  • Corporate Background
  • Boston Market Thrives, Then Flounders
  • Ethnic Gourmet Foods
  • Competitive Profile: Kraft Foods, Inc.
  • Corporate Background
  • The Leading Marketer of Frozen Pizza
  • Premium DiGiorno Is America’s Leading Frozen Pizza
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Competitive Profile: La Brea Bakery
  • Corporate Background
  • Par-Baking Extends Reach Nationally
  • Product Line
  • Competitive Profile: Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, Inc
  • An Italian Original
  • Costco Leaves Michael Angelo’s Out in the Cold
  • …and Spurs Change in Strategies
  • Expanded Advertising
  • Competitive Profile: Monterey Pasta Company
  • Corporate Background
  • Product Lines
  • Acquisitions a Key Growth Strategy
  • Internet Presence
  • Competitive Profile: The Schwan Food Company
  • Going for Growth
  • Repositioning Freschetta Pizza
  • Pagoda Asian Foods
  • Competitive Profile: Wolfgang Puck Food Co
  • A Culinary Empire
  • Pizza Deal with ConAgra
  • Wolfgang Puck Soups
  • Other Packaged Foods
  • Company Briefs
  • Aidells Sausage Co
  • Dare Foods, Inc
  • Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Inc.
  • Nancy’s Specialty Foods, Inc.

Chapter 5: The Consumer

  • Demographics
  • Note on Simmons Survey Data and Tables
  • Barilla the Favorite Pasta in 15% of American Homes
  • DiGiorno Frozen Pizza the Favorite Gourmet RTE Meal
  • Variance by Socioeconomic Level
  • Age Patterns
  • Ethnicity Usually Not a Strong Determinant
  • Regional Skew to Northeast and West
  • Larger Households More Likely to Prefer Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals
  • Table 5-1: Adult Purchasers of Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals, 2002 (% of U.S. households)
  • Table 5-2a: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Household Income Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-2b: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Household Income Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-3: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Educational Attainment, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-4a: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Age Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-4b: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Age Bracket, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-5: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Ethnic Group, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-6: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Region, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-7: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Employment Status, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-8: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Marital Status, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-9: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Household Size, 2002 (U.S. adults)
  • Table 5-10: Purchasing Indices for Gourmet Foods and RTE Meals: By Presence of Children by Age, 2002 (U.S. adults)

Chapter 6: Looking Ahead

  • Trends and Opportunities
  • Putting Convenience in Gourmet
  • In-Store Opportunities
  • Co-Branded Signature Items
  • A Bigger Slice of Pie for Premium Pizza
  • The Healthy Gourmet
  • A World of Flavors
  • Upscale But Down-Home
  • Appendix: Addresses of Selected Marketers

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report