Growth and development of convenience food in India
The pandemic Covid-19 has taught many people to pay more attention towards,safe and nutritious food for immunity enhancement.
Food is usually of plant or animal origin, containing essential nutrients,vlike carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals to provide energy, maintain life or stimulate growth.
In the later part of 19th century, hotel, cafeterias and restaurants business flourished in leaps and bounds. May be it physical or in the form of parcels. The restaurant as it is contemporarily understood did not exist until the end of the 18th century. Sitting down in a public restaurant specifically for a meal, with a waiter and a fixed menu is a relatively recent concept of 19th century.
Convenience foods that have been created to make them more appealing to the consumer. Convenience food is commercially prepared for ease of consumption.Any packaged dish or food that can be prepared quickly and easily as by thawing or heating,can also be a convenience food. Age is the most important predictor of convenience food consumption,with younger people eating more convenience food.
Products designated as convenience food are often prepared food stuffs that can be sold as hot, ready-to-eat dishes; as room-temperature, shelf-stable products; or as refrigerated or frozen products that require minimal preparation. These products are often sold in portion controlled, single-serve packaging designed for portability. Convenience food can include products such as candy, beverages such as soft drinks, juices and milk, fast food; nuts, fruits and vegetables in fresh or preserved states; processed meats and cheeses and canned products such as soups and pasta dishes.
Convenience foods or prepared food products, are a rapidly increasing supermarket category involving chilled meals that only require the minimum of preparation, if any, before consumption.
Microbial growth and oxygen sensitivity
The shelf-life of these products is usually limited by two factors: microbial growth and oxygen sensitivity. Thus, the packaging system used for ready-to-eat products should exclude O2 and provide some microbial suppressing action and usually involves a mixture of CO2 and N2. These atmospheres provide several advantages, including reduction of oxidative rancidity, lack of growth of aerobic spoilage organisms, suppression of mould growth by CO2, minimal moisture loss through the package and reduced oxidative breakdown of flavour and aroma volatiles.
Prepackaged sandwiches have grown in popularity over the last decade. Their sale has extended from large retail outlets to snack/lunch bars, small food service outlets or even milk booths. An increase in shelf-life would be of great advantage in allowing more flexibility in the distribution of these products. The hygiene and safety of these products during manufacture and the use of good manufacturing practices, combined with the use of good refrigeration practice, are critical.
Typical gas compositions include 30% CO2/70% N2, 5% CO2/95% N2 or a minimum of 70% CO2. The higher rate of CO2 can cause pack collapse, as the gas is absorbed by the product, hence the use of higher levels of N2. The specific combination used will be a compromise, delaying microbial growth without causing collapse of the packs.
Today, convenience foods supply much of the requirements are of industrial population in India. Their prominence in the modern diet is the result of the urbanisation of society during the 19th and 20th centuries. The universal consumption of convenience foods has arisen from the demands of modern lifestyles in the industrial areas, requiring for the majority of people that their daily nourishment be supplied by commercial enterprises rather than by their own food-producing endeavours.
Tech innovation and scientific discovery
Today availability of the plethora of convenience foods is the result of brilliant technological innovation and scientific discovery, their current prominence in the diets cannot be fully explained solely by the application of food technology to the food supply. Food technology has been more of an enabling factor than a motivating force. Other types of technology, including transportation and communications, have also been significant in assisting the market growth of convenience foods.
The rapid strides made by the processed and convenience food industry would not have been possible without the use of traditional and chemical preservatives. In view of concerns about potential toxicity to the consumers in the long run, the worldwide trend is to restrict the use of these preservatives to well below their legally permitted levels. No single permitted preservative fulfils the needed requirements of effectiveness and absolute safety. Sulfur dioxide is no exception to this, in spite of its proven effectiveness and safety as indicated by its continued usage in a wide range of foods.
Future development will lead to optimum utilisation of combinations of permitted preservatives so that their individual levels of incorporation can be greatly reduced without compromising the safety and stability of food products. A combination of 50 ppm of sorbate and 50 ppm of SO2 is reported to have inactivated yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae during heating, even in the presence of glucose. The food industry requires the continued use of preservatives like SO2 in traditional ways until synergistic combinations have undergone detailed investigations on enhanced safety.
Thus due to reduced operational cost, production time, less production area, less wastages, meeting demand in short time and ease of consumption will increase the demand of the convenience food still further.
Indian food processing industry accounts for merely 2% of the total food production in India, which is very low as compared to the Western countries. Considering the market forces such as rising income level, change in consumer behaviour and rapid economic growth, it is expected that the growth rate would be 25 per cent in 2020 due to convenience food.
Market research recommends that the next sunrise industry for India is food industry (including convenience foods) which has already surpassed both information technology and pharmaceutics.
In view of the liberal policy measures, government’s commitment for reforms, development of food and agro processing industries, development and growth of convenience food retailing in India is inevitable.
Convenience foods can be the choice of the day, can be designed to suit all segments of population including army, airways, railways and even patients with suitable supplements for their health,in pandemic Covid-19. The demand for convenience foods is growing at a faster pace due to changes in social and economical patterns, awareness about health foods, changes in meal pattern and existing food habit, desire to taste new products.
Source : fnbnews