The Need of Convenience Foods in Present Scenario. Abstract: Rapid urbanization and changes in social and cultural practices have modified the food habits of the community. Industrial development in Indian cities has compelled labour from villages to migrate to cities in search of employment. It is estimated that within the next ten years, half of world’s population will be living and working in urban areas. Increase in buying power and long hours spent away from home commuting to work places, make convenience foods a necessity in every home.
Convenience Food: Convenience food is commercially prepared food designed for ease of consumption. Products designated as convenience foods are often prepared food stuffs that can be sold as hot, ready-to-eat dishes, as room-temperature, shelf-stable products or as refrigerated or frozen products that require minimal preparation (typically just heating). These products are often sold in portion controlled, single serve packaging designed for portability for “on-the-go” eating.
Convenience food can include products such as candy beverages, soft drinks , juices, milk, fast food, nuts, fruits and vegetables in fresh or preserved states, processed meats and cheeses, and canned products such as soups and pasta dishes are also included. Need: Most food consumed in developed countries is in the form of convenience foods. Convenience foods are foods that require little labour and time to prepare. A packet green pea is a convenience food since it requires no shelling. A packet of whole wheat flour is also convenience food as it has been already been milled.
A packet instant idli mix is mare of convenience food, and ‘ready to eat’ or ‘heat and eat’ foods like chicken keema matar or canned palak paneer are mast convenient since they need to further cooking. Many different types of convenience foods are available in market today. The speed and efficiency of cooking and service increases dramatically with the use of convenience foods, giving the caterer, homemaker, or working professional more time to develop other activities. The convenience food revolution is possible because of wide variety of chemicals which are added to food not only to preserve it but to enhance its overall quality.
These numerous chemicals, tested and permitted by law to be added to food are called food additives. Convenience foods generally contain some level of preservatives to prevent spoilage and thus last longer “on the shelf” and thus have the advantage of a longer shelf life, and thereby contains its costs further. There are also significant economies of scale with convenience foods, since the value proportion is that they can be prepared with minimal effort often only by simple re-heating, thus translating into the further benefit that a bulk quantity can often be stocked.
Many convenience foods are available in cans or other special plastic packaging, allowing them to be frozen or chilled. Today convenience foods are being specially packed for caterers and are available in large catering packs. Manufacturers of specialized food supplies pack foods that it fits into standard catering equipment, e. g. , catering packs that fit in to vending machines. The caterer can choose between smaller packs and larger packs that are economical. Convenience foods vary widely in their palatability, nutrient content and cost.
The consumer can choose from a bewildering display of snacks, soups, sauces, fruit chunks and juices, desserts, meat and vegetable preparations gravies in the ready to eat and ready to cook form. They need to be warmed up in a microwave before they are served. The preservation, or canning, of fruits and vegetable in the early 1900s was the predecessor to the convenience food market. Large quantities of food could be stocked in cans and used only as required and the convenience food market emerged as a major industry by the early 1960’s.
There is now available a broad range of convenience foods including breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings as well as snacks. Additional social trends accelerated the expansion of convenience foods. The rise of the two-earner family in the latter part of the 20th century as well as the move to the city and suburb has contributed to the acceptance of convenience foods. Advances in both foods processing and packaging have also shaped further growth. Acceptance by high population emerging markets such as India and China will also help drive the convenience food market. Types of convenience foods:
Category| Examples| Category 1:| Basic product The product needs some preparation before cooking| Shelled green peas| Category 2:| Ready to cook product The product needs no further Preparation before cooking| Frozen green peas| Category 3:| Ready to use product The product must be prepared an heated| Instant tomato soup powder| Category 4:| Precooked product This is prepared dish which needs to be heated before consumption| Paneer tikka masala| Category 5:| Table ready product The packet can be opened and consumed as it is| Potato chips|
Consumer behavior and trend: Urban is where the action is, 1 billion population i. e. , 30% of population live in Urban areas. India is urbanizing in a rapid rate of 2. 5% per annum, the number of cities over 10 lakhs population is expected to be double in next 20 years (35 to 70 cities), In India professionals are increasing (growing service sector), Increasing number of working women (15% in Urban India). Due to increasing working women in cities traditional cooking is difficult so people prefer ready to eat kind of food which can be prepared and served in a short period of time.
Most of convenience foods are consumed for breakfast in the form of noodles, pasta, oat meal etc. Market Structure: The market for convenience food is continually being extended with new companies and solutions entering the field many small firms adding niche brands and products. At the same time, large food corporations are constantly expanding their own product lines and packaging. In terms of packaging, the range is very broad. A convenience food snack item could be sold as a single item, packaged as a dozen or more or even sold in bulk form in ‘big-box’ stores.
Large supermarket and hypermarket chains also continue to add new products and focus continually on testing for new trends. The recent move toward green, natural or environmentally friendly foods has greatly advanced the advent of the organic food marketplace or at least those with essentially organic ingredients. Conversely, these products may likely also have a reduced shelf life. Again, though the market contains many large corporations, there are also thousands of niche providers. Total market for food products is Rs. 2,500 Billion of this; processed food is Rs. 1,400 Billion.
New products are continually introduced. The following estimate was made for new product introductions recently: Product Type | New Product Introductions| Sweeteners/sugars | 83| Weight control products | 48| Breakfast cereals | 114| Beverages| 1576| Confectionery| 1273| Desserts ; ice cream | 450| Dairy | 544| Snacks | 710| Processed meat/seafood | 646| Soup | 254| Spreads| 295| Condiments/seasonings | 1298| Meals ; entrees 543 | 543| Bakery| 1126|
Side dishes | 421| Fruits ; vegetables | 254| Baby food| 21| Major players: Hindustan Lever, MTR, Parle, Pepsi, Coco Cola, Nestle, ITC, Cadbury and Dabur. Demand Dynamics: The general factors driving the growth of the food sector are increase in urban population, increase in disposable income in rural areas and companies aggressive promotion of product awareness. Rise in Disposable Income: With increasing disposable income and subsequent rise in quality of living and hygiene concerns, the average Indian’s spending on grocery and personal care products will likely increase.
Currently, the average Indian spends about 48%, also the majority, of his total income on groceries (~40%) and personal care products (~8%). Rise in Disposable Income (In USD Thousands): Convenience Food Business Investments: Company| Investment| Nestle | Nestle plans to capitalize on the healthand convenience food consumption trend byexpanding its brand portfolio through newlaunches in dairy products (probiotic and low fat dahi, milkshake and fruit yoghurt), prepared foods (Maggi Healthy Soups, Rice Noodles) and beverages (Nescafe Mild and an expanding chain of vending machines). Kellogg | In 2008, Kellogg positioned its Special K cereal as a health management alternative for urban women| ITC. | ITC Foods, who entered into the health foodcategory in early 2007 with Sun feast Sachin Fit Kit range, today earns more than 50% of its revenue from health-related products| Pepsi, Coca Cola | Pepsi and Coca Cola will grow focus on non-carbonated drinks. Pepsi has acquired Tropicana and now is considering launching milk-based drinks. Coca Cola is planning to introduce energy and sports drinks | Dabur| In 2007, Dabur offered the ‘Real Active’ juices portfolio with the introduction of first packaged vegetable juice.
Dabur is now focusing on low-fruitconcentrate drinks and low calorie baked goods| All India Mean Per Capita Consumption: Food Items| Rural| Urban| | 1987/88| 1999/2000| 1987/88| 1999/2000| Processed Food(kgs/month)| 0. 41| 1. 60| 0. 80| 2. 20| Beverages (litres/month)| 2. 34| 2. 30| 5. 84| 6. 40| All India Mean Consumption and Expenditure Shares (%): Food Items| Rural| Urban| | 1987/88| 1999/2000| 1987/88| 1999/2000| Processed Food| 8. 28| 9. 4| 13. 59| 16. 7| Beverages | 2. 83| 3. 9| 5. 38| 6. 5| Nutritive value of one precooked serving: Paneer tikka masala (100 g):
Nutrient | Amount| % daily value| Calories (kCal/kj)| 191/802| | Calories from fat| 139| | Total fat (g)| 15| 23| Saturated fat (g)| 9| 45| Cholesterol (mg)| 10| 3| Sodium (mg)| 310| 13| Total carbohydrate (g)| 8| 3| Fibre (g)| 2| 8| Sugar (g)| 5| | Protein (g)| 5| 10| Vitamin A| | 24| Vitamin C| | 5| Calcium| | 4| Iron | | 11| Criticisms: Critics have derided the increasing trend of convenience foods because of numerous issues. Several groups have cited the environmental harm of single serve packaging due to the increased usage of plastics that contributes to solid waste in landfills. Conclusion:
The ever increasing market for convenience foods is it tinned, canned, chilled, frozen or preserved, presents a whole array of complex operations in food processing. This weaning away from the traditional fare of yesteryears provides a tremendous and challenge to food industry. Serving safe, attractive and nutritious food that is wholesome and bacteriological safe and conforms to quality standards. The urban workforce does not have the time or inclination to follow the traditional recipes and would rather pick up packed, clean and reasonably priced meals rather than return home from work and do domestic chores.