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      Posted by Marie Ristic on in Food Processing Industry Trends
      Advantages of convenience food

      The Advantages of Convenience Food For Busy Lifestyles

      Convenience foods offer many advantages, including less time spent planning meals, grocery shopping, and preparing food, as well as creating less food waste (with single-portion foods) and easier cleanup.

      The demand for convenience foods will only rise as our lives become increasingly fast-paced with millennials reaching for convenience food at a higher rate than any other demographic.


      Food in Australian households: The expense and the waste

      Despite the increasing cost of living, food waste is on the rise with one in three households wasting the equivalent of a shopping bag full of food each week. The most binned items by Australians are vegetables (29%), fruit (22%), leafy greens (24%) and baked goods (21%). 

      Convenience foods, though not traditionally considered ‘healthy’ are evolving due to changing demand from consumers. This is creating an increasing amount of options becoming available on supermarket shelves for those who are time-poor but still want to eat healthy.  

      The increasing demand for convenience food in Australia

      The online (often subscription) based food delivery market in Australia is thriving, and supermarkets and stores are stocking more convenience food options than ever before. 

      For the time-poor, we have more variation to choose from and the ability to feed our families well even when we are time-poor. 

      With this rise in demand, producers are offering products to support and reflect consumer values, necessitating awareness of factors like origin stories, sustainability efforts, and corporate ethics with increasing transparency. 

      Packaging is evolving to keep up with consumer expectations to remain plastic waste-free and the importance of quality assurance and uncompromised nutritional content is brought to the fore.

      Meal planning with convenience foods

      Convenience food and ready meal options are usually more expensive than unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables, but consumers are justifying the expenditure due to the ease of consumption this type of meal offers for those with busy lifestyles and higher incomes. 

      Nutritionally balanced foods and high-protein options are extremely popular and are seen to be regularly incorporated into meal planning due to the ease of meeting caloric and protein goals.  

      Out-of-home consumption of convenience foods is also increasing with consumers spending less and less time at home due to life’s demands.

      Decreasing household sizes and an ageing population

      There are many advantages of convenience food for these groups of the population. There is a preference for single-portion meal options and reduced effort when it comes to food acquisition, preparation, cooking and clean-up among single-person households and for those in the older demographic. 

      Innovations in convenience food manufacturing 

      Technology innovation leads to improvements in quality, food safety, traceability, production downtime, energy and water efficiency. BCH food processing technology supplies equipment with software solutions ensuring repeatable and high-quality products meeting consumer demand for traceability and quality. These aspects are valued deeply by consumers and are often the reason one brand is picked up over another on the supermarket shelf. 

      Foods that are cooked in advance before delivery to supermarkets or restaurant chains must retain a safe extended life and be of excellent quality. Cook-chill extended life technology allows food manufacturers to cook foods and then rapidly chill them and keep them under refrigeration until the consumer is ready to reheat them. This technology is used to produce convenience foods like sauces and soups, as well as ready meals such as curries. 

      The advantages of convenience food

      It is easier than ever before to eat healthy while in a hurry, products from Greek yoghurt and frozen fruit to pre-prepared foods like microwavable meals and grains offer consumers variation and better nutritional value as well as the opportunity to opt for quicker healthy meals over less healthy fast-food options. 

      FPE supplies food solutions for pre-prepared food and meal producers in Australia and New Zealand – from automatic slicing and dicing of frozen fruit or veg to HACCP compliance and food quality assurance.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Why do people prefer convenience food?

      Faced with increasing time constraints, people often turn to convenience foods. Convenience foods are defined as types of foods that save time in food acquisition, preparation, and cleanup.  

      What are the benefits of instant food?

      Instant foods can be stored for a longer period of time, are quicker to prepare and clean up after and don’t require cooking skills. They are often in a single portion to reduce food wastage. 

      Are convenience foods good for health?

      While not traditionally known as “healthy”, the vast array of convenient foods available is changing that. There are now preservative-free options and natural alternatives available on the supermarket shelves.  

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