Lip-Smacking Battle: Convenience Foods

Ever noticed how American households are buzzing hives of activity and everyone is always on the go? We race through breakfast to beat the morning traffic, the kids zip off to after-school activities, and it’s always a challenge to get dinner on the table fast. 

As the fall approaches, the time allotted to cooking will quickly evaporate. Americans are really on the move when school opens: there are lunches to pack, buses and trains to catch, delays on the commute home as traffic increases, sports and afterschool activities to attend. The days are truly packed.

These hectic schedules are a key reason convenience foods from the grocery store – such as toaster pastries and frozen pizza – are so popular. More than two-thirds (67%) of Americans often or sometimes eat a ready-to-eat meal or single-serving snack, and 8% always do, as we learned from a consumer sentiment survey we commissioned in July.

Even with our mobile lifestyle, the most popular times for grab-and-go foods are morning and midday. When preparing food at home, Americans are more likely to buy grocery convenience foods for lunch and breakfast than for dinner or snacks. That’s an opportunity for CPG advertisers marketing items for these mealtimes. 

Another opportunity? Serving more variety. Nearly half (48%) of Americans are only somewhat satisfied with the variety of flavors and options for convenience foods available to them. Almost one in three (31%) say they aren’t satisfied with the convenience options for diet-specific choices offered in the grocery store, such as keto or gluten-free. CPG brands with items in these categories could leverage advertising to build both awareness and loyalty.

Horizontal bar chart shows that lunch and breakfast are the most popular meals for convenience foods, followed by snacks and dinner

These discoveries got us thinking: What are the go-to favorites for grab-and-go foods? Using our CPG purchase-based insights, we ranked the top grocery convenience foods to learn what consumers are really buying. Here are the results of our lip-smacking battle of ready-to-go grocery foods.

In this analysis, we looked at the number of average units purchased by American households in May 2023. 

Lip-Smacking Battle: Ready-to-Eat Foods. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are compared to show which food is more popular for each meal.

Back-to-school time is just about here. With such a short window, you might be wondering about how to approach advertising plans for convenience foods. Learn how KIND Snacks made the most of purchase data insights and optimized programmatic advertising to reach their best buyers.

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