Ready-to-eat food market to reach 350 billion by 3032 driven by healthy options

December 13, 2023

The global ready-to-eat food market is projected to reach roughly €351.23 billion by 2032 with a 7.7% CAGR, according to Future Market Insights (FMI). This is driven largely by young consumers seeking authentic, nutritious, and convenient options to match their busy lifestyles, and a number of brands are around the world are answering this call.

According to FMI, the global ready-to-eat food sector has shown to be among the fastest and rapidly expanding markets. Millennials’ love of food is fueling the demand for fine dining, yet they can lack the necessary resources to cook it for themselves (time, education, or equipment).

The U.S. has a 65% market share in the region, with a total market valuation of about USD 44,460 million (41 300 million euros). In the year 2020, roughly 36% of American adults said they consumed ready-to-eat meals. Meanwhile, the highest consumed and selling categories in the Indian ready-to-eat food market include pre-cooked meat and smoked fish, which are expected to create substantial sales income, FMI said.

Commenting on the market, an FMI analyst said: “Customers have a preference for ready-to-eat food since it may serve as a useful substitute for a normal diet and has an increased shelf life, making it handier to preserve for later use. Due to their dynamic and hectic lifestyles, youths are the primary target area for this industry. They choose ready-to-eat or easy foods. With such a wide range of consumers, the ready-to-eat sector will have a rapid growth trajectory.”

Competitive Landscape

FMI highlighted that customers desire ready-to-eat meals which are minimally processed and with a longer shelf-life and few or no preservatives, but not at the expense of taste. High-Pressure Processing (HPP) technology has a lot of potential as a preservation solution without the use of heat for RTE meals.

Ready-to-eat food market to reach 350 billion by 3032 driven by healthy options
Cedit: MUSH

The market researcher cited several brands which are in this space supplying highly nutritious, minimally processed ready meals. These include MUSH, which offers overnight cold-soaked oats in dairy-free milk; Singapore’s The Soup Spoon, which offers plant-based broths, stews, and soup pouches; Italian brand Villa Food, which offers classic Italian ready-to-eat meals; and Tappers in Spain.

MUSH’s overnight oats are gluten-free and come in a range of flavours. The brand is the brainchild of an ex Wall Street trading analyst who started the company in 2015 after not being able to find healthy breakfast options on the go.

The Soup Spoon is a Singapore-based restaurant chain that also sells ready-to-eat meals and soups. According to the company, it travels the world, discovering its cultures, one bowl of soup at a time.

Ready-to-eat food market to reach 350 billion by 3032 driven by healthy options
Credit: Soup Spoon

The company states on its website: “We’re inspired by the incredible variety of this simple dish and we’re passionate about turning ideas from around the world into recipes for homely moments, wherever you are. Simply put, The World in One Kitchen encapsulates the inspirations behind our soup recipes, which are created by SouperChef Anna based on her travel experiences around the world. From the world, to our kitchen, to you.”

Villa Foods ready-to-eat meals are made with “extremely fresh ingredients that change with the seasons”, the company says, with its selection containing “nothing but the finest traditional Italian meat, fish and vegetarian hors d’oeuvre, first courses, second courses and side dishes”.

Finally, Tappers in Spain claims to offer “fresh ingredients, zero additives, a packaging that maintains its quality for 15 days … and a taste of home. Tappers is eating in a traditional, healthy and natural way, that is, eating as always, but in a balanced, comfortable and organised way… like never before. Or, as your mother would say… it’s eating as God intended.”

In addition to these options, in the UK a popular brand is Bol (an acronym for Bring on Life), which just recently launched its first specifically gut-healthy, or “gut loving” recipe (pictured top), available exclusively in Sainsbury’s in the UK – a Smoky White Bean & Tomato Power Soup, which the brand claims is “pure microbiome magic: packed full of some of nature’s greatest ingredients, stirred together to create some seriously special taste”.

According to Bol, its new recipe contains 13 different plant ingredients and 21 grams of fibre in a single jar.

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