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The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way that the corporate world operates. The work-from-home trend has skyrocketed since 2020 as the pandemic-induced lockdowns and restrictions have kept consumers confined to their homes. This is fueling demand for ready-to-cook foods in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region (Asia & Australasia), reveals GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Parthasarathy Reddy, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData says: "Social life has been hard hit due to the pandemic as people remain wary of going to restaurants for meals or social gatherings despite the easing of restrictions. While takeaways and home deliveries have gained prominence, consumers are preferring home-cooked meals and snacks with their families."
GlobalData's Q2 2021 consumer survey suggests that 74 per cent of APAC consumers are cooking meals from meal kits, out of which 12 per cent have started doing this recently, and 25 per cent have begun doing it more frequently.
Mr Reddy explains: "Cooking full-course meals for families is a laborious and time-consuming process - a luxury for many urbanites, who are juggling hectic personal and work schedules. Unsurprisingly, ready-to-cook foods have gained more popularity since the COVID-19 outbreak, with value sales of ready meals in the APAC accelerating by 6 per cent YoY from US$25.6bn in 2019 to US$27.2bn in 2020. Food companies thereby geared up to dish out new and exotic recipes to cater to this trend, offering consumers a choice of regular meals, international cuisine, and traditional fare."
Apart from the growing preference for more novel culinary experiences, consumers are seeking foods with functional ingredients that promote health and wellness. Ingredients that claim to boost immunity and digestive health have become attractive to consumers as the pandemic has made them pay more attention to their personal health and wellbeing.
GlobalData's Q2 2021 consumer survey reveals that 77 per cent of APAC consumers find immunity-boosting ingredients to be somewhat/very appealing.
Mr Reddy concludes: "The increasing consumer inclination to dine at home is opening up new opportunities for food companies that provide ready-to-cook meals. For instance, manufacturers can partner with top restaurant chefs to innovate ready meals that enable consumers to easily recreate and savour sophisticated fine-dining fare in the comfort of their homes."