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RTE revolution: Choosing convenience over cooking meals

14 April 2023

Nayela Binte Azad :
Human beings have a fundamental requirement for sustenance in the form of food. It is essential for the proper operation of all the body's components as well as for healthy development. As we are living in 21st century, people all over the world don't have enough time to prepare food from scratch. The ready to eat (RTE) food products, also called convenience food, are fully or partially cooked when packed. These foods are often refrigerated and have defined food handling guidelines. These foods were initially consumed by defense people, disaster victims, trekkers, hikers, and hunters, others who required food in short time and on the travel lines. But now, they have become popular with most of the busy people in modern cities. Canned foods, convenience foods, fast foods, frozen foods, instant products, dried foods, preserved foods, etc. all come under RTE foods.
In western countries, consumers have been increasingly opting to purchase convenient and premade meals rather than preparing meals from scratch in the kitchen. This phenomenon is so widespread that it has caused a seismic shift in the culture surrounding food. As a result of this shift, vegetables no longer need to be chopped or stirred while they are being cooked on the stovetop; instead, they can be heated up in just a few minutes. But In Bangladesh, we don't eat saladsor canned foods that just need a few minutes in the microwave before they're ready to eat. This is because our culture and food preferences are different from those of other countries. Therefore, most of the foods that we offer in ready-to-eat form are foods that are only partially cooked, such as frozen roti, paratha, puri, and samosa etc. which require a little bit of time and effort to prepare.But nowadays so many brands like Golden Harvest, Bengal Meat etc. offering fully cooked proper meals like Tehari, Cooked Beef, Sandwich etc. that just need few seconds to popped in microwave to eat. Also included in the category of ready-to-eat foods are prepackaged foods such as bakery items like cakes, cream rolls, buns, breads, and so on."All Time", one of the parts of PRAN-RFL Group Biscuits & Bakery is now highly popular RTE company among students for their convenient packaged foods.
It is anticipated that the market for ready-to-eat foods in Bangladesh will show signs of expansion in the years to come. This expansion is anticipated to be supported by a shift toward busier lifestyles among the natives of the country as well as an increase in consumer spending toward more nutritious and delicious eating alternatives. In addition, the food that is already prepared for consumption is not only beneficial for households, but its use is also growing in the hospitality industry. As a result of an increase in tourism within the country, more and more hotels and restaurants are beginning to serve ready-to-eat versions of the country's most delectable dishes. According to some research, Bangladesh RTE food market is anticipated to witness growth during the forecast period 2020-26.
The secret to growing the sale of RTE food is convenience. Yet, there are some outstanding psychological variables as well that are provoking people to eat RTE food. First one is advertisement. One of the renowned company Nestlé MAAGIE claims it to be "2-minute noodles". This tagline immediately quenches hunger. They are not assuring if it really takes 2 minutes to prepare or not. Second one is packaging. One of the most important factors to consider when selling ready-to-eat food is packaging. Packaging is mostly designed in an attractive way that stands out on store shelves and draws the attention of shoppers.More interestingly, 90 per cent of consumer makes their purchase decision upon examining the front pack labeling and 85 per cent of consumers make their purchase decisions without seeing an alternative product. The package includes all relevant information such as ingredients, nutritional facts, precautions, and more. The growing attention towards health and nutrition has created a demand for more nutritional information to be included on food packaging. People are becoming increasingly interested in knowing what is going into their bodies, and providing this information helps build trust with customers who may be more likely to purchase the product. As people are being more educated, they are started to being more concerned about their health and safety. Nonetheless, some people nowadays still do not believe in the ingredient lists on the packaging. Particularly, most of them are illiterate people from rural area and some educated people also, who have misconception about these foods. Lastly, price is another key factor as customers often make decisions based on how much they're willing to spend. Most of the RTE foods come at a reasonable price point while still making it profitable for retailers or producers who are bringing them to market. As day by day our per capital income is increasing, RTE foods becoming handier and easier to buy for people.
RTE foods offer convenience without sacrificing taste - perfect for busy lives! Furthermore, they can be stored for a long period of time, extending their shelf life so that you can always have something delicious on hand. Ready to eat foods are perfect for those looking for an effortless yet tasty meal option. With such a wide variety of food available, it's easy to find something delicious to satisfy any craving!

(The writer is Batch 13 student, Department of Marketing, Jahangirnagar University). 

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