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Prepared meals are typically cooked meals in advance that requires minimal cooking or further processing before consumption. The factor influencing the demand for prepared meals is its convenience as it saves time, requires fewer efforts for cooking, and is easy to handle and store. The fast-paced lifestyles of working consumers and students’ consumption of such prepared meals offer a healthier and cost-effective solution to junk food. Along with this, round the year easy availability of the prepared meals in various stores is likely to impact the market performance positively. According to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), 2018, the global frozen food consumption in 2018 valued USD 54 billion and the sales went up by 3% than the previous year. Furthermore, the digitalization boom and aggressive advertisements about the prepared meals on various media platforms aid in creating awareness about the products, which contributes in its market growth.
The current COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has increased the purchase of such prepared meals by consumers due to the imposition of lockdowns and movement restrictions in most countries. These prepared meals have a relatively long shelf life and are convenient to cook. Further, these prepared meals can last for a longer time, which reduces the number of visits to grocery stores or convenience stores. Thus, it is anticipated to increase the demand for prepared meals.
According to the United Nations World Employment and Social outlook data 2020, the global unemployment rate dropped to 4.9% in 2019 and the global employed population was 3.3 billion. This indicates that the global working population has increased in recent years, which has nudged the consumers to seek convenient and less time consuming food options. The consumers’ proactive lifestyle and hectic work schedules has shifted their preferences towards such ready-to-eat foods that are easy to cook, thereby boosting the market growth.
In spite of the convenience offered by these prepared meals, the negative health perceptions associated with them due to the addition of various additives and preservatives so that the food remains fresh for longer time - negatively impacting its market growth. Further, the increased consumption of these meals can lead to obesity and lifestyle-related health disorders.
Key Market Driver -
Upsurge in Working Population to Propel the Demand
Key Market Restraint -
Negative Health Perceptions Associated with Prepared Meals
The key companies operating in the global prepared meals market are, Nomad Foods Europe Limited, Regal Kitchen Foods Limited, Nestle SA, Tulita Ahara Pvt. Ltd., ConAgra Brands Inc., Kraft Heinz Company, FiveStar Gourmet Foods, Inc., BRF S.A., Green Mill Restaurants LLC, and Kerry Group plc.
Frozen and chilled prepared meals segment is anticipated to hold the major share in the market as it generated US$ 54.05 billion revenues in 2019, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores, 2020. Along with this, a survey conducted by the German Frozen Food Institute survey 2019, the frozen food segment has grown by 30% in the past 10 years in Germany which is likely to further boost its demand.
The supermarkets and hypermarkets sales channel is likely to be the leading purchasing channel, due to its wide product availability and freedom of selection of products. Moreover, the e-commerce sector is also exhibiting significant traction, due to increasing penetration of online platforms and their hassle-free door step delivery options is expected to increase the product sales.
North America is anticipated to emerge as a major consumer of prepared meals due to its growing popularity among working class consumers and students. According to research paper published in BioMed Central Ltd. in 2020, nearly 36% of the U.S. adults reported consumption of ready-to-eat meals. In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment ratio in the U.S. went down to 6.7% and the employment rate stood at 60.8%. The rise in working population has influenced the consumers increased reliability on prepared meals, which is anticipated to boost the regional market growth.
Asia Pacific exhibits tremendous potential in the market growth due to the increasing disposable income and rapid urbanization in the region. According to Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), 2018 the prepared meals industry will grow at 4.4% by 2022 due to expansion in working population and stable economic growth. India and Japan are among the countries that hold the major potential in the market as the manufacturers in the region are introducing healthier and safe prepared meals to suffice the increasing consumer demand.
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