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Demand for convenience driving microwavable foods market: Report

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 20-Jan-2011

Growing demand for convenience has driven innovation in the microwavable foods category, particularly in the United States, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA).

The market research firm said in its latest report – entitled “Microwavable Foods: A Global Strategic Business Report” – that it expects the global market for microwavable foods to hit $91bn by 2015. Factors influencing the category also include increasing numbers of young people with few cooking skills, higher disposable incomes, changing consumer food purchasing patterns, busy lifestyles, and interesting innovations in microwavable foods, the market researcher said.

“Surging number of working women, changing food purchasing patterns, and wide array of microwavable food products are compelling more number of consumers to indulge in microwave cooking,” GIA said. “To address the myriad requirements of fast paced lifestyles of today's busy consumers, manufacturers are sprucing up product portfolios with an ever-increasing number of appealing and enticing microwavable preparations and meals.”

The report said that the United States, as one of the world’s largest technology-driven economies, is the leading market for microwavable foods, primarily due to “reluctance of Americans to prepare time-consuming meals”. Frozen microwavable meals represent the largest segment of the market, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent from 2000 to 2006, GIA said.

It added that although the US and Europe currently account for most global sales of microwavable foods, strong growth is expected for the category in developing countries in Asia and Latin America. The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to be the fastest growing market for microwavable foods, GIA said, particularly as microwave oven ownership increases.

“Microwave frozen foods, fueled by changing lifestyles and new technologies, is all set to take convenience foods to new heights,” the market researcher said. “Given the numerous new product introductions, consumer satisfaction regarding the choice of microwavable foods remains satisfactory, while at the same time, holds potential opportunities for further growth.”

Consumer demand for convenient food products that fit with a faster pace of life has been a major trend in the United States in recent years. Late last year, market research organization the NPD Group called it the biggest factor in the development of American food trends of the past 30 years.

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