ANUFOOD India 2023

A Dive into the Ready-to-Eat and Ready-to-Cook Food Market

A Dive into the Ready-to-Eat and Ready-to-Cook Food Market

RTE Food Market-Market CAGR % by region, global 2021 Source- Mordor Intelligence

By -FoodTechBiz Desk

Owing to the rising working population worldwide, busy schedules, and time constraints, there is significant adoption of convenience foods like ready-to-eat (RTE) and ready-to-cook (RTC) that need minimal time and ingredients to cook. According to the reports, during the period of 2022-27, the global ready-to-eat food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8%. In India, the RTE food market share is projected to increase by USD 751.43 million from 2021 to 2026, and the market will grow at a CAGR of 18.63%.

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Market segmentation

Based on product type, the global RTE market is categorized into cereal-based, fruit/vegetable-based, meat/poultry-based, and others. Meat and poultry-based segments are currently occupying the top market share among these.

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The packaging type divides the market into frozen/ chilled, retort, and canned, among others. The frozen/chilled segment presently holds the biggest market share.

According to the distribution channels, the market is bifurcated into food specialty stores, online stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, departmental stores, and convenience stores. As of now, supermarkets and hypermarkets dominate the market.

The market is geographically divided into Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa, where North America currently holds the largest market share.

RTE and RTC Foods – A Market Analysis

Reports suggest that the world is witnessing a wave of demand surge for convenient and instant healthy foods and the market is highly competitive.

  • Ready-to-eat foods are considered the closest alternative to regular food, which can be consumed all day, from breakfast to dinner. This is causing a consumer shift from home-cooked food to RTE foods.
  • After the pandemic struck, RTE/RTC foods have come to the rescue of work-from-home employees. On days when the schedule leaves no time for cooking, consumers turn to RTE/RTC foods for nourishment, creating opportunities for the market.
  • The demand for convenience foods like snacks, meat products, instant pasta, rice, and more is growing at a fast pace. Higher expenditure on food and drinks, awareness about healthy foods, changes in meal patterns and eating habits, and evolving social and economic factors are all reasons why the desire for instant foods is on the rise.
  • The aware consumer of today is eager to try out new cuisines from other regions. Ethnic RTE foods are driving the demand for such foods.
  • In India, the RTE market is dominated by domestic companies, but global players have also entered the space with vivid flavors and varieties. Organic food companies are also offering RTC foods to cater to health-conscious consumers.
  • Unique packaging to further sales is also a step towards increasing the consumer base.
  • Good taste, high nutritional content, and good-quality ingredients encourage consumers to try out RTC foods day in and day out, causing a sharp growth curve for the market.
  • The target demographic for RTE manufacturers is the millennials and the young generation, who spend a considerable portion of their income on convenience foods. This trend is promoting the global demand for the market.
  • The demand for RTE products is also rising due to the convenience of consumption followed by quick disposal of the packaging. Working professionals imbibe this concept into their lifestyle seamlessly.
  • Some challenges faced by the RTE market are the lack of an effective distribution system due to the prevalence of unbranded products, third-party distribution leading to high operational costs, negative perception that such foods contain preservatives that reduce their nutritional value, and health experts suggesting that such foods might lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol. These factors deter consumers from purchasing these convenience foods.

Leaders of the pack

The top companies globally operating in the RTE and RTC market are 2 Sisters Food Group (Boparan Holdings), ADF Foods, Bakkavor Foods, Birds Eye, Findus Group, General Mills Inc., iD, Pink Harvest Farms, Regal Kitchen, Greencore Group, ITC, McCain Foods, MTR Foods, (Orkla ASA), Nomad Foods, Premier Foods, and many more.

Market forecast

The RTE market forecast value in 2032 is expected to reach USD 3,77,945.91 million globally. Though already quite mainstream in developed countries, convenience foods are also slowly sliding into developing country households. This primarily reduces the time spent preparing elaborate meals and focuses on careers.

The main drivers of the market include the growing number of Quick-Service Restaurants (QSRs), the trending café culture, and the rising adoption of on-the-go convenience food products. To cater to the nutritional aspects, manufacturers are constantly innovating to roll out flavored variants of products that attract consumers. Online marketing, promotional activities, celebrity endorsements, and the urge to be the best are projected to drive the convenience food market to new heights in the coming times.


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