Chinese prepared meals sector poised to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% during 2018–2023, says GlobalData

Driven by changing lifestyle and increasing working population, the prepared meals sector in China is forecast to grow from C¥43.3bn (US$6.5bn) in 2018 to C¥61.7bn (US$9.1bn) by 2023, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, ‘China Prepared Meals – Market Assessment and Forecast to 2023’, reveals that ready meals was the largest category with value sales of C¥42.5bn (US$6.4bn) in 2018. The category is also forecast to register the fastest value growth at a CAGR of 7.4% during 2018–2023, followed by pizza (6.7%). Ready meals were the largest category in volume terms, registering volume sales of 1,625m kg in 2018. It is forecast to grow the fastest at a CAGR of 4.9% during 2018–2023, followed by pizza (4%) and meal kits (3.8%).

Sneha Singh, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, says: “With increasing employment rate and urbanization, Chinese consumers are short on time and are seeking convenient and on-the-go food options, thus opting for prepared meal products.”

The value share of China in the global prepared meals sector is expected to increase from 7.2% in 2018 to 8.3% by 2023. Similarly, the country’s share at a regional level is expected to increase from 22.2% in 2018 to 23.7% by 2023. The per capita consumption (PCC) of prepared meals in China, which was 1.2kg in 2018, is forecast to increase to 1.5kg by 2023. PCC in China is higher compared to APAC levels; however, it is lower when compared to global levels.

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Nissin Food Holdings Co., Ltd, Unilever, and WH Group are the top three companies in the Chinese prepared meals sector. All the top three companies offer products in the ready meals category.

Hypermarkets & supermarkets is the leading distribution channel in the Chinese prepared meals sector with a value share of 63.2% in 2018. It was followed by convenience stores, and food & drinks specialists with shares of 32.6% and 2.8%, respectively. Singh concludes: “Large population base, rapid urbanization and high workforce participation will further drive the prepared meals sector in China.”

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