The companies that manufacture ready meals They sold 742,377 tons last year, 2.9% more than in 2022, a volume that includes from refrigerated pizzasthe frozen churros either preparations based on potatoes or fish. “Although refrigerated products represent the majority of consumption, 46%, it was frozen products that grew the most last year, with a 3.6% increase,” said the entity’s general secretary, Álvaro Aguilar. , in the presentation of the 2023 balance sheet of the entity that groups these companies, the Spanish Association of Prepared Meal Manufacturers (Asefapre). Every person ate, throughout last year, 16.3 kilos of food prepared outside the home, indicated Aguilar, who has insisted on the effort that the sector is making to make these dishes increasingly healthier and more sustainable.

Moderately satisfied with the evolution of the sector, the twenty firms attached to Asefapre, which directly employ some 5,300 peoplethey saw how their billing grew by 10.8% compared to the previous year, which represented a business of 4,569 million euros. Also in this regard, they were frozen those that experienced the greatest increase, with a 16.4% increase compared to 7.2% for those in the refrigerated category. Dishes that are preserved at room temperature (many of them made from legumes) grew by 13.7% in revenue volume. Part of this increase is explained because manufacturers have had to impact on their products the increase in prices that food, which is their raw material, has suffered in recent times.

“We have had a perfect storm, in this sense: the inflationthe war in Ukraine, the drought and the decrease in harvests, which has meant a certain shortage of some products“, indicated the general secretary of Asefapre.

Good export rhythm

Almost a 20% of prepared dishes that are manufactured in Spain are exported, with Portugal and France as preferred recipients, but also with an important role for Saudi Arabia, the United States and the Netherlands. “There are productions, such as churros, for example, that 50% goes abroad,” highlighted Ángel Matamoro, president of the manufacturers’ association, who has emphasized how this industry encourages the application of sustainable practices.

Thus, he stressed, the water purificationthe use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling or the creation of new sustainable packaging These are issues on the agenda in the sector. “We innovate with practical formats for everyday life that also contribute to the development of a circular economy, either facilitating its recyclability or encouraging its reuse,” Matamoro also noted.