Ready-to-eat food products, which are also called “convenience food”, really add convenience to the hectic life of people. They are either readymade almost readymade foods that just require simple preparations like boiling. They are further segmented into canned food, frozen food, and chilled food on the basis of processing and packaging. Ready-to-eat is a fast-growing market and in fact, it has become the largest segment of the global food industry.
COVID-19 Affecting the Ready-to-Eat Food Segment
The ready-to-eat food segment is really going uphill owing to the lockdown imposed due to the outspread of COVID-19. Being at home and shutting down restaurants are compelling people to cook on their own. For the working class, ready-to-eat foods have been the go-to meals. This is one of the major contributing factors why this segment have sprung up.
Products like curries/ meals, batters, instant mixes, desserts as well as frozen snacks are now even more popular. Demand for frozen snacks has increased from 25 to 30% post-COVID-19 as compared to the pre-COVID-19 time. The lockdown has also altered the picture of the entire food industry in general.
An Improved Distribution Channel
COVID-19 has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of ready-to-eat food segment. However, it is not the only driving factor. The distribution channel for these food items have definitely improved. Consequently, the ready-to-eat food segment is now flourishing even more.
The most prominent example to quote here is that of Haldiram’s. Earlier, it sold its products through various outlets, Amazon, and Flipkart. But recently, Haldiram’s tied up with Swiggy and Zomato to market and sell its products.
ITC has done the same by tying up with Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo, and Scootsy. It has even introduced ITC-On-Wheels. This is a mobile store that offers a range of the company’s products to consumers at their doorsteps.
Even MTR has reported a 5% increase in the contribution of e-commerce to their sales.
Ready-to-Eat Food Segment going the Healthy Way
The trend of manufacturing healthy, protein-rich, and non-fried snacks has gained momentum now. Lot of companies are rolling out ready-to-eat and healthy snacks such as snack bars. Many of these combine the goodness of fruits and veggies with nuts and other healthy ingredients.
Some of the most popular examples of ready-to-eat healthy snacks include pressed fruit rolls, chips made of any vegetable except potatoes, dried and salted nuts, muesli, etc.
Also, veganism is rising as a new trend in eating habits. This is another reason why brands have to keep the healthy aspect in mind while creating products. Consumers are now more aware of the sources of the food on their plates. And hence, their buying habits are also changing.
The shift in consumer demands and the increasing level of awareness is shaping new products because even big brands like Nestle are trying to take the healthy road. The ready-to-eat food segment has now emerged as the biggest market in the global food industry due to multiple reasons. Furthermore, it will continue to grow as in the hectic life of students and working individuals, it is an essential part.
Read more: Nestle’s Yes Bars
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Skilled in content writing and management and Content Manager at Mindgrad. A Freelance Writer pursuing Btech in Food Technology and Management