Pre-made dishes enters golden era

January 17, 2023

The development of prepared dishes has evolved from B2B to B2C and become an increasingly popular track.

A number fo factors have led to prepared dishes becoming one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in the catering and food industry over the past three years, most notably the global pandemic and rise of the in-house economy, as well as changing consumer demands and the development of cold chain logistics. Traditional agri-food enterprises and fresh food e-commerce platforms looking to capitalise on this growth have successively deployed prepared dishes.

A booming pre-made market

The market size of prepared dishes in 2021 exceeded 300 billion yuan ($44 billion USD), and in 2023 is expected to exceed 500 billion ($74 billion USD), according to Ai-Media consulting data. In the next three to five years, the market size of prepared dishes is expected to reach a trillion yuan ( $150 billion USD), and in the long term is expected to exceed three times this amount.

What is behind this new trend?

The industrialisation of catering and modernisation of home kitchens, with various new technologies and equipment, have transformed Chinese catering into a string of digital numbers and set of standards to achieve factory production, turning the chef craft into delicious tastes which each household can DIY.

The boom of prepared dishes is also directly linked to the modernisation of family kitchens. This modernisation is taking place in many parts of the world, including China, the world’s largest consumer market with 1.4 billion consumers.

The challenge for agri-food enterprises and fresh food e-commerce platforms will be developing a new retail of prepared dishes which achieve low cost, high efficiency and good experience at the same time.

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