How Grocery Retail Can Save on Fresh Prepared Meal Costs

March 23, 2023

Retailers can save up to 40% when they source fully prepared meals from a third-party partner.

The Growing Demand for Fresh Prepared Meals

Persisting inflation coupled with work-from-home flexibility means consumers are eating at home more than ever across all day parts. Nearly 40% of Americans are opting for one to three prepared or semi-prepared breakfast and lunch options each week,1 and almost a quarter of shoppers report paying more frequent visits to the fresh meals section of their grocery stores since the pandemic began2. With consumers seeking at-home meal options that are fresh, delicious, and convenient, retailers have an opportunity to capture valuable share-of-stomach with fresh prepared meal offerings.

With New Consumer Interest Comes New Costs

As retailers look to capitalize on evolving consumer behavior by expanding their fresh prepared meal offerings, production costs may be a shell-shocking deterrent. In-house assembly requires costly labor commitments from employees across functions and levels – from store teams that assemble, package, and stock meals, to planners that develop and source innovative recipes, to marketers that merchandise offerings across channels. Cost aside, with labor shortages continuing to plague the grocery industry3, an undertaking that demands such heavy labor involvement may not be feasible.

The Savings Solution

Third-party partners present a compellingly cost-effective savings opportunity for grocery retailers facing the high-cost barriers of expanding fresh prepared meal offerings. A recent cost model comparison from FreshRealm found that retailers can save up to 40% when they choose to source fully prepared ready-to-cook and ready-to-heat meals from a third-party partner rather than assemble in-house. And the cost savings doesn’t stop with retailers—the Suggested Retail Price for the FreshRealm meal was 17% less than the meal made in-house, bringing cost relief to shoppers conflicted with the struggle of rising food costs, too. Retailers can then provide more variety and lower costs to consumers while driving foot traffic.

A Custom Solution for Every Retailer

With the company’s wide array of fresh ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat, and ready-to-cook private label and branded meal solutions, FreshRealm is uniquely positioned to offer a personalized solution that addresses every retailer and consumer need. 

Ready to start saving? FreshRealm is working with grocers nationwide to create fresh prepared meal in-store destinations. Visit for a full look at the company’s range of, ready-to-heat, and ready-to-cook and meal kit solutions that are helping retailers and consumers save when they need it most.

1 FreshRealm consumer insights survey, July 2022

2 FMI, July 2022

3 TIME, January 2023