Changing consumer trends reveal ‘Effort and Ease are the New Convenience’

More than two in five people are eating alone as consumers favour less involvement with the basic meal-making processes because of increasing time constraints, according to Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) latest consumer trends information.

Single diners have replaced couples as the leading category and now make up 42 per cent of meals eaten, with two people dining on 36 per cent, three people 11 per cent and four people, the typical nuclear family, only represented by 11 per cent - just over one meal in ten.

“Kantar Worldpanel 2015 research figures show we are moving year-by-year from a high to a low involvement with our food,” said Sue Franklin, HCC UK Market Development Executive.

“Average meal preparation times are sitting at around 32 minutes; in 1990, that was 45 minutes and in 1980 it was a full hour. A prime example of this consumer change is with the home-made sausage roll. Back in 1984, 61 per cent would prepare pastry and mixture from scratch; a mere six percent of us are doing this thirty years on.”

“Quick, speedy food is demanded to fit in with the hustle and bustle of everyday living. People also want more from their food - but they want it now. They will pay considerably more for ready made solutions, five per cent more for health reasons and 25 per cent more for perceived taste,” said Mrs. Franklin.

“This is putting pressure on primary, premium products like PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. There are plenty of options for using both in high end, quick turnaround cooking but it does involve some investment in basic skills and knowledge of suitable cuts and both are also incrementally disappearing.

“It’s something that is reflected in statistics for the near one-in-four respondees who say they have “a night off from cooking or couldn’t be bothered to cook.”

The changing face of retail was again highlighted in shopper trade with discounters gaining 12 per cent and online retailers 8 per cent while supermarket stores lost three per cent and the high street one per cent. Butchers still hold a very important place in shopping choices, having more customers than the discounters and providing valuable know-how to their customers about choosing and cooking prime meat cuts.

HCC has created a number of convenient, easy to prepare recipes in less than 30 minutes including our ‘Baked Flour Tortillas with Spicy Welsh Beef Mince’ and ‘Manchego cheese Welsh Lamb Cutlets’. For other ideas visit our consumer site:  

To learn more about the different cuts available and their best uses visit: