Return of ‘TV Dinner’ Era?

Demand for ready-to-eat (RTE), ready-to-cook (RTC), and read-to-serve (RTS) food is growing fastest in metros where a lot of working people don’t get enough time to cook elaborate meals. The main categories include canned/dried processed food, frozen processed food, meal replacement products and condiments.

This market is anticipated to grow on account of increasing working population, growing per capita disposable income, rising per capita expenditure on prepared food, increasing middle class and affluent consumers, etc. With the rising employment opportunities and changing lifestyle of consumers, the demand for RTE, RTC, RTS food products in the country is projected to grow further in the coming years.

Moreover, the government’s support in the form of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI), formulated by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports with an outlay of Rs 10,900 crore is adding further fuel to the growth of this segment.

At present, Bikanervala Foods, Darshan Foods, Gits Food Products, Haldiram Foods International, Heritage Foods, ITC, McCain Foods, McCormick and Company Inc., MTR Foods, Tyson Foods Inc. are some of the leading players in India busy exploring this space. 

Industry banks on ‘snacking’ twist

Snacks have always been a significant part of modern life as they represent a distinct and constantly widening and changing group of food items. Consumer appeal for RTE/RTC/RTS food products is widening with the introduction of convenient snacks with exciting sensory and textural properties in the market.

According to the latest global ‘State of the Snacking Report’ released by Mondelez, nearly 81 per cent Indian respondents stated that they now replace at least one meal each day with a snack, while 74 per cent of Indian adult consumers preferred small meals throughout the day, instead of large ones.

As a result, companies are adding new products in their RTE/RTC/RTS portfolio in order to offer small meals to the consumers throughout the day, particularly for breakfast.

According to Rushikesh Aravkar, Food & Drink Analyst, Mintel, “With snack categories bolstering their better-for-you (BFY) proposition and also eyeing the morning occasion, brands specialising in breakfast will have to compete across categories. This trend also presents an opportunity for breakfast brands to tap into the snacking occasion by innovating and offering convenient, portable and indulgent options. This is opening up the breakfast occasion for adjacent categories in ready-to-eat, portable formats such as breakfast biscuits, yoghurts and breakfast drinks.”

A seasoned player of the RTE segment, New Delhi-based Bikanervala Foods (Bikano) has aggressively expanded its business in this space in 2021 with the launch of multiple products such as masala-based snacks, maida-based snacks, wafers, chips, sweets etc. In fact, the company has recently expanded its presence in South India by opening a new plant in Hyderabad.

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Mansi Jamsudkar


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