Walmart’s deal to sell Gordon Ramsay’s frozen food line comes as grocers compete to meet consumers’ demand for more affordable alternatives to restaurant dining.
In a move first reported by People, the celebrity chef exclusively launched his line of eight frozen meals, dubbed By Chef Ramsay, at the retail giant, the latest in a series of grocers’ moves to capture more of consumers’ day-to-day food occasions.
“I’m elated to bring my favorite dishes into homes across the country,” Ramsay told the news outlet. “It thrills me that these dishes are so widely available for anyone to experience, and I hope they inspire the home chef in everyone.”
There is demand for the kinds of quick meal solutions that these products offer, and consumers are looking for them at the grocery store. In fact, “Connected Dining: Ready-to-Eat Meals Are Eating Restaurants’ Lunch,” which drew from an April survey of more than 2,300 U.S. consumers, found that the majority (57%) had purchased a ready-to-eat meal in the past month, and many (28%) did so once a week or more. Plus, nearly two-thirds of those who purchased ready-to-eat meals had acquired their most recent one from the grocery store.
Even when consumers are preparing their meals at home, people are less and less willing to spend long periods of time cooking. Food giant Campbell Soup Company noted on an earnings call earlier this year that, when it comes to cooking, “the magic numbers on dinner are 20 minutes and the magic number on lunch is 10 minutes on speed,” per CEO Mark Clouse.
Additionally, consumers are cutting back on restaurant meals, prompting many to seek alternatives that provide similar convenience. Research for PYMNTS’ “Connected Dining” series reveals that 58% of consumers made restaurant purchases in June, down 9 percentage points from May — the most pronounced drop in monthly purchase percentages since last November.
Plus, research from a March survey of more than 1,200 consumers found that between 70% and 80% of diners — depending on the generation — have been eating at home more often in response to rising prices.
Throughout this year, many brands and retailers have been noticing the concurrent increased demand for frozen foods. Discount retailers have been expanding their freezer aisles. Red Lobster has launched a new frozen meal line. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) frozen food delivery provider Yelloh, formerly known as Schwan’s Home Delivery, has been expanding in partnership with investment firm 4×4 Capital. As consumers continue to seek out quick, budget-friendly alternatives to restaurant dining, the category is poised for growth.
Indeed, grocers are looking to meet the need for quick, affordable options, expanding their prepared meal and frozen food selections in an effort to fulfill all consumers’ food needs.
In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of restaurant chain Wow Bao, which has a presence at thousands of grocery stores, spoke to the trend of supermarkets looking to capture more food occasions.
“The grocery store is trying to be the one-stop shop,” Alexander said. “Whether it’s for ready-to-eat meals, food for another night, or the typical grocery shop, they’re trying to entice the consumer to use the grocery store in many different ways.”