Trends Many working couples are inclined towards fast food

T here has been a major shift in food habits in the metropolitan cities. According to a survey undertaken by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) about 86 per cent of households prefer to have instant food due to steep rise in dual income level and standard of living, convenience, influence of western countries, etc.

The survey on “Ready to Eat Food in Metropolitan cities” is based on responses from 3,000 representative households with children or without children, nuclear family and bachelors. The survey suggests that many consumers in metros lead time-pressured lifestyles and have less time available for formal meals, as a result of which demand remains high for products which can be eaten on the go.

ASSOCHAM claims that Indian food processing market will show fast paced growth in the next five years. It is also estimated that this food processing industry will show the annual growth of 40-60 per cent in next five years. The survey points out that these convenience foods are preferred (86 per cent) mainly by nuclear families where both husband and wife are working or by bachelors who wish to avoid hotel food or people who do not have time, patience or the expertise to prepare in a traditional method. According to survey, metropolitans are the largest consumers of processed food and are going to be the biggest consumers of processed food because of their ever increasing per capita income and lifestyle which is also changing rapidly, disclosed D S Rawat , Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.

Major metropolitan cities in which respondents were interviewed by ASDF include Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun

Various foods helped to prevent the age-old traditional method of long preparation of grinding, cooking or fermenting for hours and hence making the work faster. Even the manufacturers prepared the instant foods according to the taste of the consumers.

Rawat said that the consumer spending rate on processed food has increased at an average rate of 7.6 per cent annually during the years 2008 to 2010 and this is expected to continue as the consumer expense will rise with an average of around 8.6 percent till the year 2012.

The survey highlighted that 85 per cent of parents with children under five years of age are serving these easy-to-prepare meals at least 7-10 times per month due to increased pressures at work, and increasing complexity in other household management areas. They are actively looking for ways to simplify and save time, says majority of parents.

Around 92 per cent nuclear families feel that they have less free time than before they had kids.

As a result they are spending less time in the kitchen and are turning to takeout, delivered food, and semi-prepared meals to help feed the family at meal time. And 72 per cent bachelors prefer the convenience food because of less cost, time and energy saving. Around 67 per cent working women revealed that the present trend changed the habits to foods which are simple and easy to digest