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More time-poor Aussies opting for ready-made meals

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2009–March 2010 (n=52,105); April 2013–March 2014 (n=48,059). Base: Australians 14+ who ate a frozen/chilled meal

“Where has this year gone?” … “I’m so busy.” … “I haven’t had a chance to scratch myself!”

Hands up who’s said any/all of the above recently? Whether you think busyness is a first-world problem or part of the 21st-century human condition, the fact remains: many Australians are over-committed and pressed for time. Anything that can ease the pressure is welcome—including short cuts in the kitchen. No wonder more Australians eat frozen/chilled ready-made meals in an average seven days now than just five years ago.

In the year to March 2010, 8.1% of Australians 14+ said they’d eaten a frozen/chilled ready-prepared meal in the last seven days. In the year to March 2014, this figure had risen to 9.4% — an increase of about 373,000 people.

% of each group who ate a frozen/chilled ready-made meal in average 7 days: 2010 vs 2014

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2009–March 2010 (n=52,105); April 2013–March 2014 (n=48,059). Base: Australians 14+ who ate a frozen/chilled meal

This increase is especially marked among Australians who agree with the statement, “I don’t have time to spend cooking” and among those who agree “I’m constantly watching my weight”. Of those who don’t have time to cook, 15.7% reported eating at least one frozen/chilled meal in an average seven days (up from 13.1% in the year to March 2010), while 10.5% of those watching their weight did the same (up from 8.8%).

Angela Smith, Group Account Director — Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Frozen/chilled ready-made meals represent a convenient short-cut for busy Australians who don’t have time to cook their own meals every night. With supermarkets stocking a an ever-increasing range of pre-prepared options such as lasagne, risotto, gourmet soups and curries, it’s easier than ever to bypass fast food and eat healthily even when pressed for time.

“Many of these frozen/chilled meals are nutritionally balanced and low in calories, so they also make life easier for people watching their weight.

“Using Roy Morgan Research’s in-depth segmentation tool Helix Personas allows us to identify who exactly is eating this kind of meal and why. For example, people in the Looking Good persona (303) are over 50% more likely than the average Australian to eat frozen/ready chilled meals during an average week. These people are commonly living in recently developed metro suburbs, trying to balance the needs of family with a successful career.

”Often paying big mortgages on large homes, Looking Good need to keep the weekly grocery budget in check but will gladly pay a bit extra if it saves time in the kitchen after a full day in the office.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith
Group Account Director, Consumer Products
Office:   +61 (2) 9021 9100

Related research findings

View our extensive range of Food consumer and buyer profiles, and Food attitude profiles (including ‘I often buy frozen or chilled ready prepared meals’ and ‘I don’t have time to spend cooking’). These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%