Asia Pacific

Prepared meal market grows in Asia Pacific

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Prepared meals trend in Asia Pacific will grow at CAGR of 4.4% to US$27.5bn in 2022, reports Frances Ball

A new report from GlobalData shows that the trend for prepared meals will continue to grow in Asia Pacific markets. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% by 2022, it’s a sizeable push.

Across the world, consumer habits are increasingly geared toward making often busy lifestyles easier. Combine that with the large and rapidly aging population in Asia, difficult working hours, and a high disposable income with little time in which to spend it and you are presented with a heady recipe for prepared meal services to be highly marketable.

Healthy and convenient

Debakshi Sarkar, consumer analyst at GlobalData, makes the point that “time pressed” consumers want “easy-to-make and healthy options”. That picks up on the other trend that GlobalData’s report drew on – ready meals and fast food are required to be healthy, as much as they need to be convenient.

Their Q3 2018 customer survey complements that finding. 64% of respondents to that survey said they chose their food according to how well it aligned with their health and wellbeing.

Of those surveyed, 64% also said that time and money constraints were a major influence over food choice.

Japan is currently the largest market, with a 2017 value share of 82.1%.

It is India, though, that expects to see the fastest relative CAGR (the predicted 4.4%) by 2022, and the Chinese market is coming up behind with 2.9% growth.

Major inhibitors

According to Sarkar, the major inhibitors of growth in the sector for developing countries are “rising awareness of the harmful effects of additives, and lack of adequate cold chain logistics” for handling chilled and frozen prepared meals.

“Prepared meals will become healthier as high pressure processing (HPP) technology, which increases the shelf life of food and beverages, trickles down into the prepared meals space,” says Sarkar.

Indeed, ready meals are eating up a larger proportion of the market – in 2017 they accounted for 77.3% of the sector’s value, and 78.1% in 2018. Pizza, on the other hand, has declined slightly from 16.7% to 16%: an indication, perhaps, of the increasingly health-conscious customers looking for alternative prepared meal options.

The knock-on effect this will have on the restaurant scene in the Asia Pacific region remains to be seen, but consultants should certainly be aware of increased competition for consumers coming from the prepared meals market.

Frances Ball