As the cease of dine-in services at restaurants rise, the ready-to-eat food market continues to strive. As we all know, COVID-19 killed a lot of business but multiple trends are taking flight in the market. Same goes to the ready-to-eat (RTE) food product market. This is because prepping (including purchasing ingredients, thawing, washing, chopping, etc), cooking, washing and putting your utensils back in the cupboard simply takes up too many hours in a day of our lives. 1 meal can take up to 3 hours for the whole process and we have to eat at least 3 meals to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
What is ready to eat food
Ready-to-eat (RTE) foods are a group of food products that are pre-cleaned, precooked, mostly packaged and ready for consumption without prior preparation or cooking.
Benefits of Ready-to-eat food
Ready-to-eat food are alternatives to regular food which can be consumed anytime, for any meal. And as the name suggests it provides ultimate convenience to the consumers. With little effort required to prep, it saves the consumers at least 50% of their time for the whole process of having a meal. Literally all they have to do is heat up their food, and it’s ready to be devoured. With the upward trend, manufacturers are putting in resources in developing innovative products and providing variety in the market to capture demand and ultimately achieve a higher market share.
Are Ready-to-eat Food Healthy?
Just like any other food, ready to eat food has healthy options for people out there! Consumers may opt for
- baked, steamed, or grilled proteins
- Ensure to select a meal with plenty of greens, but skip the additional butter or sauces. If salad is what you’re going for, go for the one with light dressing and use not more than 2 tablespoons of sauce. (Well, healthy food means less sauce which also means less taste.)
- Whole grains like brown rice or whole-wheat pasta is a good source of fibre!
- High fat extras such as mayo, sour cream, cheese, bacon are a big no-no for healthy options.
Trend of Ready-to-eat food
North America holds the major share of the Ready-to-eat food market. Frozen pizza and handheld breakfast were the go-to meals for a buzzing city like America. Yes, they were convenient, yes they were cheap, but they weren’t fresh, and they weren’t healthy. Hence, ready-to-eat meals have become a healthier option for frozen pizzas and handheld breakfasts. One of the biggest players in this market include, Birds Eye, Power Bowls, and Hungry-Man.
M&S Food (Marks & Spencer) has also hopped on the bandwagon but with innovation, they had the upper hand as they took on the halal market by providing own-brand halal ready meals. With the increasing demand of halal diet, M&S Food has made a range of 6 halal food authority certified prepared meals available at 36 M&S stores nationwide.
Market Perception on Ready-to-eat food in Asia
RTE in Asia definitely had a different take on this. Although a vast majority of people in Asia are keeping up with the trend, some still think otherwise. As the Covid era continues to Co-exist with us, the people were worried that human spread disease and bacteria would come from ready-to-eat meals. Consumers were also worried about the cleanliness of the food handling.
Hence, in the near future, with effective food marketing and public health organizations efforts, we believe that this trend may quite as well take over the asian market. As the housewives here are exhausted with overwhelming house chores as well. We all need a break some day, somehow, and ready-to-eat food is the way to go!
Every country is striving and developing one way or another. And if a country continues to develop, you know darn right the people are working hard to contribute to that development. And when people are working hard, we know for sure that we’re going to need that break, be it 10 minutes, 20 minutes or better yet, an hour. And what's the pros and cons of making food? Pros: Food. Cons: Making. Hence, Ready-to-eat is definitely here to eliminate the cons and promote the pros. In the mean time provide the nutrition, the convenience, and the affordability to the market, and giving us a better life to live with less burn out, and more happiness. So who wouldn’t love the idea? I hope it's not you, because you might be missing out on your free time, worthy of pursuing your passion. Of course if your passion is cooking you’re an exception ;)
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