Ready-to-eat food market to reach $38 billion by 2023

Monday, 20 January, 2020

Ready-to-eat food market to reach $38 billion by 2023

The Asia–Pacific (APAC) ready-to-eat/prepared meals market is predicted to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from US$29.4 billion (AU$42.6 billion) to US$38.4 billion (AU$55 billion) by 2023, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. APAC accounts for a 32.5% share of the global market for ready-to-eat meals, with 61% of APAC consumers preferring ‘easy-to-consume’ products, while 63% of them actively purchase ‘time and effort-saving’ products.

The increase in the CAGR of the ready-to-eat market is attributed to rapid urbanisation, higher employment rates and a rising number of dual-income families in the APAC region. “Countries such as Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are particularly driving the demand for prepared meals in the region. In a bid to cater to these time-pressed consumers, manufacturers are launching time-saving, easy-to-make prepared meal options,” said Shagun Sachdeva, Consumer Insights Analyst at Global Data.

The market for prepared meals with health and wellness attributes is predicted to grow from US$3.4 billion in 2018 to US$4.4 billion in 2023, with Japan the largest market, with value sales of US$3.3 billion in 2018. This demand is driven by selective consumers, who are willing to pay more for products with health and wellness claims such as ‘preservative-free’ and ‘no artificial additives’. Gluten and preservative-free varieties of ready meals are being introduced to cater to health-oriented consumers who seek specialised food products.

“Growing nutritional concerns, especially excessive consumption of carbohydrates, salt and gluten, have combined to negatively affect the prepared meal sector in the region. Therefore, more consumers are now shifting away from frozen meals to freshly prepared meals. Although brands have begun to capitalise on this opportunity with low-carb prepared meals to cater to the health-conscious consumers, this still remains niche and is yet to reach the masses,” Sachdeva said.

For example, Kagome Co. introduced a ready-to-eat meal in Japan under the Kagome brand, which contains high fibre and low sugar, for consumers seeking healthy prepared food. The Indian prepared meals market is also predicted to reach US$63.2 million in 2023, while Nestlé has expanded its offering in the ready-to-eat market with the launch of Maggi Ghee Tadka Upma Express and Maggi Masala Onion Poha Express. Other fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Britannia, Marico and PepsiCo are also offering options to meet the demand for quick-fix food in India.

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