APAC ready-to-eat market set to reach US$38.4bn by 2023, says GlobalData

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) ready-to-eat (RTE)/prepared meals market is set to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from US$29.4bn in 2018 to US$38.4bn by 2023, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

APAC is the largest ready-to-eat meals market, accounting for 32.5% share of the global market. According to GlobalData 2019 Q3 consumer survey reveals that 61% APAC consumers prefer ‘easy to consume’ products while 63% of them actively buy ‘time and effort-saving’ products.

Shagun Sachdeva, Consumer Insights Analyst at GlobalData says: “Rapid urbanization and high employment rate with rising number of dual income families in the APAC region has left consumers with busier lifestyles and lesser free time. 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.”

The market for prepared meals with health & wellness (H&W) attributes in the region is forecast to grow from US$3.4bn in 2018 to US$4.4bn in 2023. Among the high-potential countries, Japan was the largest market for prepared meals with H&W claims with value sales of US$3.3bn in 2018.

Sachdeva adds: “The demand for healthy prepared meals in Japan is largely driven by selective consumers, who are willing to pay more for products with H&W claims such as ‘preservative free’ and ‘no artificial additives’. Manufacturers are introducing gluten and preservative-free varieties of ready meals in a bid to cater to fitness-orientated consumers, who often seek specialized food products.”

For instance, Kagome Co., Ltd. from Japan introduced a RTE meal product under the Kagome brand name targeted at consumers seeking healthy prepared food. It claimed to contain high fiber and low sugar.

Indian prepared meals market with leading players such as MTR Foods Pvt Ltd., Haldirams and Gits Food Products Pvt. Ltd. is set to reach US$63.2m in 2023. Recently, Nestle has expanded its offering in the RTE segment with the launch of Maggi Ghee Tadka Upma Express and Maggi Masala Onion Poha Express.

Other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as Britannia, Marico and PepsiCo are already scrabbling for larger share of breakfast segment and offering more options to meet the rising demand for quick-fix food in India. In addition, Haldiram Snacks Pvt has announced the launch of ‘Trumillets’ that includes a wide range of RTE products like dosa, Idly, Upma, Kheer and Smoothies.

Sachdeva concludes: “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 gradually shifting away from frozen meals to freshly prepared meals. Although, brands have begun to capitalize 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.”

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