imageWP2: The healthiness and sustainability of supermarket ready-meals.

Research questions

  • How do consumers incorporate ready-meals and other ‘convenience’ foods as part of their everyday diets?
  • What ‘stocks of knowledge’ do consumers deploy in understanding the health and sustainability implications of their dietary choices?
  • What factors affect consumers’ receptiveness to healthier and more sustainable dietary choices?

WP2 examines the sustainability and health implications of supermarket ‘ready meals’ in the UK and Germany, building on DEFRA’s Green Food Project (GFP).

The GFP included a case study of ready-meals (curry), noting their popularity among UK consumers, the increasing consumption of ‘foreign/exotic’ food in the UK, and their incorporation of environmentally ‘high-impact’ imported ingredients.

The UK has the highest market penetration of ready-meals in Europe with British supermarkets selling numerous lines of ready-meals in both chilled and frozen formats, at numerous price points and with separate branded and own-label options. WP2 will use interviews, shopping ‘go-alongs’, kitchen visits and ethnographic observation to examine how consumers incorporate a range of convenience foods within their diets, the meanings attached to its consumption and the scope for introducing healthier and more sustainable alternatives.