- The global ready-to-eat (RTE) food market is expected to post a 7.2% CAGR from 2016 to 2026, according to a new Future Market Insights report.
- The report credits this growth to "a rise in the number of working women, a growing millennial population, and on-the-go consumption habits."
- Factors potentially hindering this segment's growth include unhealthy substitutes, low quality, flavor and a shift toward healthier lifestyles.
Packaging technology innovations and more advanced microwave technology will also contribute to the RTE segment's growth. Manufacturers continue to explore new ways to utilize packaging as a way to make their products easier to prepare, consume and transport.
One hurdle for RTE is consumers' perceptions that these products are often processed, particularly RTE packaged foods. Consumers are trending toward fresher products, though manufacturers are also developing more produce, meat and dairy-based prepared foods stocked in the store perimeter and refrigerated sections.
This growth also has implications for the frozen foods industry. While frozen food sales have declined in recent years, several brands, both major and startups, have begun innovating in and disrupting the category. By aligning the convenience frozen foods offer with higher-quality ingredients and processing methods, manufacturers can revamp the frozen foods category as the RTE foods market continues to grow.