ROCKVILLE, Md. — Sales of prepared and ready-to-eat foods will reach $32.45 billion in 2012, up 8 percent from 2011, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

Prepared foods at retail may be found in a growing number of formats, but supermarkets have 60 percent market share of prepared food purchase visits. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. had the next largest share at 15 percent, and convenience stores have a 12 percent share.

“The market for store-made meals and prepared foods — which include rotisserie or fried chicken, hot pizza, hot food bars with Asian-style entrees, sushi bars, deli sandwiches and soup and salad bars — is doing well in this period of economic doldrums,” Packaged Facts said. “That’s partly because meal costs are not on par with fast food and family restaurant options, they beat them — making them accessible to a wide range of household incomes. Strong, high-quality store-brand portfolios are a significant advantage for prepared foods retailers in keeping the price points of prepared foods down and part of the winning formula.”

Specifically, the Nielsen Perishables Group said supermarket deli prepared foods generally come in at a price point between $4 and $5 for prepared chickens, salads, entrees and sandwiches with pizza, deli snacks, sides and soups priced between $3 and $4. In contrast, the average price of a sandwich at a quick-service restaurant is $7.52 and at a family restaurant it is $8.40, according to Datassential.

Supermarkets also are receiving positive remarks from consumers on the healthfulness of their prepared items with Whole Foods having programs such as Health Starts Here, Wellness Clubs and Whole Kids Foundation.

Packaged Facts forecasts 2012 convenience store prepared food sales at $17.4 billion, and the grocery store channel to reach $15.1 billion. Yet most prepared food consumers do not say that purchasing these food items is their primary motivation for visiting the store, as only 22 percent of convenience store prepared foods consumers said they were motivated by purchasing such foods and just 15 percent of supermarket consumers said purchasing prepared foods was their primary motivation for going to the store.