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The ready-to-eat and prepared meals market is set to be worth US$38.4 billion by 2023 in the APAC region, according to the latest research from GlobalData. APAC accounts for 32.5 per cent of the global RTE market and is the largest in the world.

With a CAGR of 5.4 per cent from US$29.4 billion in 2018 to US$38.4 billion by 2023, the RTE market is a growing preference in the APAC region, with 61 per cent of consumers preferring ‘easy to consume products’ and 63 per cent actively buying ‘time and effort-saving’ products.

GlobalData consumer insights analyst Shagun Sachdeva said rapid urbanisation, high employment rate and the 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,” said Sachdeva.

“In a bid to cater to these time-pressed consumers, manufacturers are launching time-saving, easy-to-make prepared meal options.”

GlobalData also found health and wellness attributes in the RTE sector is forecast to grow from US$3.4 billion in 2018 to US$4.4 billion in 2023, with Japan among the high-potential countries in the region.

The Indian prepared meals market includes leading players such as MRT Foods, Haldirams and Gits Foods, and is set to to reach US$63.2 million in 2023, as well as Nestle recently expanding its RTE offering in the segment, with the launch of Maggi Ghee Tadka Upma Express and Maggi Masala Onion Poha Express.

Companies such as Britannia, Marico and PepsiCo are focusing more on the breakfast segment to meet demand, according to GlobalData.

Sachdeva said more consumers are gradually shifting away from frozen meals to freshly prepared meals due to growing nutritional concerns, such as excessive consumption of carbohydrates, salt and gluten.

“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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