April 15, 2024

The food industry has seen tremendous growth in the ready to eat food segment over the past decade.

The food industry has seen tremendous growth in the ready to eat food segment over the past decade. With people’s busy lifestyles and preference for convenience, ready meals have become quite popular.

Growth of the Market

The global ready to eat food market has grown exponentially in recent years. According to a report by XYZ market research firm, the market was valued at $100 billion in 2015 and is expected to cross $200 billion by 2025. This represents a compound annual growth rate of over 7% during this period. Busy work schedules and urbanization are some of the major factors driving this rapid growth. People have less time to cook and prefer grabbing a ready meal instead of cooking from scratch. The rising number of nuclear families and working women has also boosted the demand for convenience foods.

Popular Product Categories

Some of the most popular categories in the ready to eat food market include:

– Ready to Cook Meals: This includes pasta, curry and rice mixes that just require adding water or other ingredients before cooking. Products like Maggi noodles are excellent examples.

– Ready to Eat Meals: Completely cooked meals that are packaged and just need heating before consumption. Pizza pockets, burritos, pasta dishes etc fall under this category.

– Snacks and Appetizers: This covers a wide range of snack products like samosa, pakoras, cutlets that can be eaten directly without cooking. Fried snacks dominate this segment.

– Baby Food: Ready to serve packaged baby foods containing single/mixed ingredients specially formulated for infants. Cereal mixes, purees and yogurt based snacks are very popular.

– Soups: Dehydrated soup mixes or canned/packet soups that only require heating before serving. Tomato, vegetable, miso and chicken soups are bestsellers.

Role of Organized Retail

The growth of organized retailing platforms like supermarkets and hypermarkets has enabled wider availability and accessibility of Ready To Eat Foods. These retail outlets stock an extensive range of national and local brands of ready meals, snacks and other convenience products. Customers can shop from a large assortment under one roof which enhances the shopping experience. Organized retailers have also worked on developing their private label brands in this category. Overall, organized retail has played a pivotal role in driving the penetration of ready meals across both urban and rural markets.

Health and Wellness Trend

With growing health awareness, companies are innovating products that cater to these evolving needs and tastes. Low calorie, protein-rich, organic, gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan are some buzzwords seen in this regard. Frequent launches of ready meals made with whole grains, lentils, quinoa, etc indicate this trend. Companies are also adding superfoods and probiotics to improve the nutritional value of their offerings. Customers want functional benefits along with convenience which has pushed firms to offer healthy alternatives as well. This focus on health and wellness is likely to strengthen further in the future.

Regional Markets

On analyzing the different regional markets:

North America currently leads with a sizeable market share thanks to busy urban lifestyles and high disposable incomes in countries like the US and Canada. The region is quick to adopt new trends and witnesses many product innovations.

Europe follows next with major demand coming from countries such as the UK, Germany and France. The presence of global food giants has made Europe an important territory.

The Asia Pacific market is growing at a rapid pace led by India and China. Changing demographics, rising middle class and proliferation of food processing companies makes this a highly promising region.

Latin America and the Middle East also exhibit healthy growth rates driven by a young population seeking convenience foods.

Several Asian countries represent untapped opportunities and global players are looking to establish their presence across various emerging markets through partnerships and acquisitions.

Future Outlook

Going forward, the ready to eat food segment will likely witness steady growth. Changing work culture, dual income households and hectic schedules will keep the demand for convenience high. With smart packaging and supply chain solutions, these products are also penetrating tier 2/3 cities and rural areas at an increasing rate. Innovation will remain key as brands strive to fulfill the evolving needs around nutrition, taste and variety. Health issues such as obesity are prompting mindful launches of better-for-you ready meals. The ready to eat landscape is vibrant, dynamic and set for a bright future.

To summarize, the ready to eat food market has proven quite resilient over the last few years as preferences shift towards convenience. Players in this industry continue making remarkable progress by expanding their portfolios across multiple sub-categories and regions. With demand drivers remaining intact, this segment appears well poised for sustained growth globally.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it