Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ready to eat or ready to cook...

The instant food market in India seems to have taken off this time around, after a few tries sometime over the last few decades. For a long long time, Nestles Maggi noodles were about the only big player. Brands like Top Ramen have provided some competition, but only just. With the recent (reasonable) successes of MTR and Aashirvaad (ITC again) ready to eat foods, it looks like this market is finally picking up.

Many factors seem to have contributed, part of which is perhaps, the critical mass of nuclear families with both husband and wife working. Also, the fact that ready to eat stuff is fairly affordably priced ( about 35 odd rupees per person) and it is far better than eating at a hotel day in and day out and can be conveniently stored at home for use on a need-to basis.

The ready to eat available today is also more ready to eat than the ready to cook vermicellli and other mixes that are available in the market. They are neatly packed, quality is assured (there are hiccups, as I once found out). These are simple microwave and eat or boil the pack in water, unwrap and eat.

Would I prefer ready to eat over home cooked food? Not yet. In India home cooked food is the first choice. Eating out is a second choice often, a necessity. Ready to eat lets one be at home without having to cook (Restaurant home delivery options do exist, but I would count this among the people who eat out anyway).

While this market will grow, there is still space for conveniences to ease cooking, but only if there is no compromise on the taste, health and cost front. Heat and eat chapatis did not do too well because of their tendency to crumble on heating. The ready made spice mixes (masalas) , Everest is the most well known, are a fixture in most Indian kitchen these days as are ready to use Ginger Garlic pastes and its derivatives. Ready to use Idli batter is available in most places. Ready to use tamarind mix, coconut milk have not made so much headway.

But I think that between ready to eat and home made stuff is is a market waiting to be tapped.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ashirvaad is overpriced for the quality, Have tried both MTR and Aashirvaad. MTR is slightly better with more variety, but the amount of stuff you get for the 35/- or 17/- spent on MTR is awfully little.

MaDdY!!! said...

hi,

I would believe that as of know the scenario is changing and more people would prefer to eat something special but at home... This would be more so in the case of Metro cities like blorer

R said...

Yes, the Ready-to-Eat industry in India is taking off, and is also aided by demand from NRIs. Check out

GaramChai.com's new Ready to Eat section

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