Packaged food market to touch Rs 3.34 lakh crore by 2017: Assocham

Country’s packaged food market is set to witness a quantum jump to $50 billion (Rs ​3.34 lakh crore) by 2017 from $32 billion (Rs 2.13 lakh crore) at present due to increasing popularity of ready-to-eat items, says a survey.

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“There has been a major shift in food habits in the metropolitan cities. About 79% of households prefer to have instant food due to steep rise in dual income level, standard of living and convenience,” said a survey by industry body Assocham.

The poll highlighted that 76% parents, mostly both working, with children under five-years in the big cities, are serving easy-to-prepare meals at least 10-12 times per month in some form or the other.

“The consumption of packaged food is much higher in the urban areas, especially metros, where life is fast-paced, attracting lot more companies to launch new types of products and variants,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

The paper also pointed out that there is a large divide between urban, semi-urban and rural consumers. Urban areas account for 80% of the demand for all packaged food.

The survey noted that about 76% nuclear families feel they have less less time to spend in the kitchen, while nearly 79% bachelors prefer convenience food. It is in this background that home delivery business model for cooked food has grown multi-fold, it said.

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, health products and drinks.

Food manufacturers have also started concentrating on manufacturing new innovative food products and ready-to-eat processed food to keep up with the ever changing tastes of consumers.