For the love of a quick bite!

India’s packaged food industry, which is currently worth US$32 billion, will reach US$50 billion by 2017 due to increasing demand for ready-to-eat food, which is gaining favour with consumers due to its convenience, a survey by industry body Assocham said.

The survey showed that Indian households had increased their spends on such food by 32.5 percent over 2010-15 and that growth could increase to 35 percent. It said that 76 percent of parents, mostly both working, with children under the age of five years, in big cities were serving these easy-to-prepare meals 10-12 times a month.

DS Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham, said the consumption of packaged food was much higher in urban areas, especially metros, where life was fast-paced, attracting lot more companies to launch new types of products and variants. Urban demand accounts for 80 percent of packaged food, the survey found.

It also found that 76 percent of nuclear families felt they had less time to spend in the kitchen and 79 percent of unmarried people preferred convenience food. Incidentally, this has also given rise to the quick growth of home delivery of cooked food.

According to the survey, the main categories of packaged food are bakery products, canned/dried processed food, frozen processed food, ready-to-eat meals, dairy products, diet snacks, processed meat and health products and drinks.

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