Average rate of annual spending on packaged food has increased by 22.5 percent annually during the years 2010 to 2015 due to rise in income level, standard of living, greater confidence in packaged food, convenience and influence of western world and the growth is expected to touch around 32 percent by 2017, according to ASSOCHAM paper.
The survey highlighted that 76 percent of parents, mostly both working, with children under five year in the big cities are serving these easy-to-prepare meals at least 10-12 times per month due to increased pressures at work and actively looking for ways to simplify and save time.
Releasing the survey, DS Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM said, the consumption of packaged food is much higher in the urban areas, especially metros, where life is fast-paced and stressful.
The survey was conducted by the ASSOCHAM Health committee council on “Steep rise in packaged food consumption in India” based on responses from 2,200 representative households with or without children, nuclear families and bachelors.
But there is a word of caution from the medical fraternity. Dr B K Rao, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Health Committee Council said, “Packaged food usually contains high level of salt, thus leading to rise in blood pressure. Such items are also high on trans-fats, which are worse than saturated fats as they increase bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol.”
Major metropolitan cities in which respondents were interviewed include Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun and it was observed that there has been a surprising rise in the demand of packaged food in the Indian market. This was attributed to changing lifestyle and eating habits.
The majority of the working class also mentioned that it’s a boon to save time, energy and money by using these foods. Even the manufacturers prepared the instant foods according to the taste of the consumers.
About 89.5 percent of the nuclear family feel that they have less free time and have less time to spend in the kitchen. It is in this background that home delivery business model for cooked food has grown multi-fold.
Nearly 72.6 percent of bachelors prefer the convenience food because of less cost, time and energy saving, convenience in preparation and consumption in the busy and hectic life. The very term ‘instant” means simple, fast, convenient and affordable food which is easy and fast to prepare besides being hygienic, free from microbial contamination and also convenient to eat, say the bachelors.
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, points the survey.
Food manufacturers have also started concentrating on manufacturing new innovative food products and ready to eat processed food so that it can keep up with the speed of ever changing taste of the consumers.
There has been a major shift in food habits in the metropolitan cities, about 79 percent of households prefer to have instant food due to steep rise in dual income level and standard of living and convenience, according to a survey undertaken by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The current size of Indian packaged food industry is about $30 billion and likely to touch $50 billion by 2017, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30% annually includes snacks food, ready-to-eat food, healthy and functional food, said ASSOCHAM.
The paper also points out that there is a large divide between urban, semi-urban and rural consumers in India. The share of urban residents is about 80% of all packaged food, while semi urban and rural residents consumed just over 40 percent and 22 percent respectively.