India’s emerging ready meals trend disrupted by COVID-19 lockdown, says GlobalData

India has witnessed growth in the prepared (on-the-go) meals and lunch-time deal offerings in the recent past. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent extension of countrywide lockdown, consumers have gone back to the traditional home cooking trends, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData found that only 23% of surveyed consumers in India claim to be purchasing more or stockpiling prepared meals during the current lockdown; conversely, this rate stood at 47% for fresh products such as fruit and vegetables*. Unlike some western countries, which are witnessing a renaissance in the home cooking trends, this is already heavily ingrained in Indian culture and everyday lifestyles and is further spurred by the current housebound living.

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “This is a tough scenario for ready meal brands, which were only beginning to surface as a popular and convenient option in the country. Customizable products that allow consumers to easily recreate unique or challenging recipes could help brands tap into current home cooking trends.”

The consumers in India are most alert to how their products are packed and stored, with 42% strongly agreeing that they are concerned about the safety of the packaging of their products, in contrast to only 19% of global average.

Increasing concerns surrounding deliveries and services that may bring the virus into one’s living area is giving rise to the sterilized society trend – as defined by GlobalData to be an escalating obsession with hygiene, cleanliness and immunity among health-attentive consumers. In India, where a large portion of its citizens live in close quarters, this worry has become a top priority.

Bryan concludes: “It would serve prepared meals manufacturers well to incorporate safe practices and guides for how to best open and use their product when at home, as well as how to discard the packaging after use, in order to put consumers’ minds at ease.”

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