Prepared dishes have been pushed to the forefront recently.

"Over 80% of chain restaurants in Guangzhou use over 80% of pre-made dishes", and the hot search is on. The features of standardization and fast delivery are important reasons why pre-made dishes have swept catering enterprises in recent years.

And topics such as how big the market is for pre-made dishes for individual consumers, and whether the family's demand for pre-made dishes is "pseudo-demand" have aroused social attention and discussion.

  In 2020, the epidemic has spawned the home economy, and pre-made dishes have become a new outlet.

According to various data, the market demand for pre-made vegetables is still increasing, and the consumer groups are mainly concentrated in first- and second-tier cities, and the penetration rate is still low.

Facing the diversified needs of consumers, the industry continues to make new breakthroughs and innovations.

It is predicted that in the next six to seven years, my country's prefabricated food industry will become the next trillion-dollar catering market.

  Perfect cold chain technology

  Pre-made dishes usher in the industry trend

  Pre-prepared dishes are pre-prepared semi-finished or finished foods that consumers can eat with only a little heating or simple cooking.

According to the "2022 Prefabricated Vegetable Industry Research Report" released by the Dingmang Research Institute, prefabricated vegetables entered China in the 1990s, developed from a vegetable processing factory to a restaurant chain, and gradually penetrated from the B-side (business, enterprise) to the C-side (individual users) , the market is growing exponentially.

In 2020, the initiative to celebrate the Spring Festival on the spot made pre-made dishes debut in the C position, and the taste of hometown dishes comforted the homesickness of countless people.

Fresh food supermarkets and e-commerce platforms, from south to north, fry, fry, stew, and stew, pre-made dishes have become popular, and hot pot pre-made dishes are especially popular, ranking first in sales.

  In recent years, due to the impact of the epidemic and the gradual improvement of cold chain technology, the prefabricated vegetable industry has ushered in an industry trend driven by catering reforms and home consumption.

According to public data, the size of my country's prefabricated vegetable market reached 345.9 billion yuan last year, a year-on-year increase of 18.1%; according to estimates by various research institutions, the prefabricated vegetable market will exceed 400 billion yuan in 2022, and it is expected that the market size will exceed 1,072 billion yuan in 2026.

  Many food production companies, catering companies and retail e-commerce companies that have captured the growth point of prepared dishes have entered the market.

According to Tianyancha, there are currently more than 72,000 domestic prefabricated vegetable companies, and 4,031 prefabricated vegetable-related companies were newly registered last year alone.

  Middle-aged and young people are the main consumer groups

  "Potential" Gen Z is on the rise

  According to data released by iiMedia Research, Chinese consumers of pre-made dishes are mainly young and middle-aged people between the ages of 27 and 39, accounting for 58.4%. Families in this age group have more children, and they are often cooks. , have higher requirements for health; followed by people aged 40 to 49, accounting for 20%, they have greater dual pressure from family and work, and use pre-made dishes as a supplement to simplify cooking and ensure family nutrition; and for For young people under the age of 26, who account for 14%, they did not have the habit of cooking, but they have quality requirements and pursuit of health care when purchasing fast food takeaways. Coupled with their own personalized and diversified consumption characteristics, they have a strong interest in pre-made dishes. Higher acceptance and awareness.

Therefore, the analysis believes that as the Z generation becomes the mainstream consumer group of catering, pre-made dishes will gradually penetrate into the young people.

  According to iResearch's 2021 survey data, 71.9% of pre-cooked food consumers purchase mainly for saving time, followed by deliciousness and health. People who don't like to cook and don't know how to cook also purchase pre-made dishes. The motivation of the dish.

The simple and fast cooking method of pre-made dishes allows handicapped cooks to easily control difficult dishes, and meets the dining needs of contemporary young people who are "lazy and greedy".

  However, at present, the volume of prefabricated vegetables in my country is still dominated by the B-end, and the proportion of the C-end is relatively small.

With the deployment of global channels such as community group purchases, fresh food e-commerce, convenience stores, and home-delivery services, pre-made dishes have broken through scene restrictions and accelerated their penetration to the C-side.

  Heavy-duty dishes have the widest audience

  Some dishes are not suitable for kitchen novice

  The taste evaluation conducted by the Dingmang Research Institute shows that when the taste reduction degree of different dishes in pre-made dishes is different, the taste reduction degree of meat dishes is higher than that of fish and shrimp. The degree of taste reduction is higher than that of fried dishes. These pre-made dishes are more likely to capture the discerning taste buds of the foodies through the spicy and delicious taste.

  The survey data and the taste test results "coincide".

At present, the pre-made dishes with a wide audience and high sales volume are mostly heavy-taste dishes such as pickled fish, grilled fish, spicy tendon, braised pork, and spicy crayfish. The production process of such dishes is complicated and the taste is heavy. For food lovers, it has addictive attributes and has an audience across the country.

  Although pre-prepared vegetable companies use different production methods according to the different characteristics of the ingredients, most of them strictly control the content and ratio of various ingredients such as oil, salt, and sugar.

However, in the process of actual operation, some dishes are still high in fat and calories after seasoning.

  At the same time, the "instant" types of pre-made dishes basically include frying, frying, stewing, and steaming. In practice, some dishes are not as convenient as imagined. For people who do not cook often, it is still There is a certain degree of difficulty.

  In addition, the prepared semi-finished dishes can save many processes such as buying vegetables, washing vegetables, and chopping vegetables. However, some dishes still need to be supplemented with vegetables by themselves. After the meal, the battlefield needs to be cleaned to clean the kitchen utensils. and kitchen nerds.

But for people who love to cook and stock vegetables at home, the price-performance ratio is not high, and the attraction is obviously not enough.

  So what kind of people are ready-to-cook meals really suitable for?

According to the analysis, consumers firstly have certain spending power and cooking skills, and pursue comprehensive cost-effectiveness for three meals a day; secondly, they are working parents with children at home, who want their children to eat more nutritious and healthy at home. There is not enough time to buy vegetables, wash vegetables, and side dishes.

  It can be seen that compared with ready-to-eat pre-cooked dishes, ready-to-cook pre-cooked dishes do have certain limitations in terms of operation and applicable groups. Cost-effectiveness) and other aspects to improve the user experience.

  Pre-made dishes hit the camping must-have list

  Get "one table dish" for holiday occasions

  There are also emerging "hot eating scenes" for prepared dishes.

  During the special period, travel has become an unreachable "poem and distance", and "outing and camping" has become one of the must-have items for young people's leisure time.

Unexpectedly, pre-made dishes have been successfully listed on the list of must-haves for camping. The combination of "camping + picnic" makes pre-made dishes more abundant in application scenarios.

  Different from instant noodles and bread, the self-heating series of pre-made dishes bring consumers a steaming steaming taste, which makes young people have more sense of participation and happiness.

For young people who are keen to "seek innovation and change", pre-made dishes such as self-heating grilled fish and self-heating chicken soup, which are originally more complex and more attractive in color and taste, can be added to picnic camping to a certain extent. A more "exquisite atmosphere".

  In addition, due to the epidemic, many young people are forced to choose to celebrate the New Year on the spot, and the sumptuous semi-finished New Year's Eve meal package has become a way to make up for regrets.

The commercially available New Year's Eve meal sets include hot dishes, cold dishes, soups and desserts, and the meat and vegetables are well matched. Open the package and simply process it to enjoy a delicious meal. Whether you are alone or as a family, you can easily get a table that looks good. The price of New Year's Eve dinner ranges from 100 yuan to 1,000 yuan.

  Compared with conventional home-cooked dishes, the innovation of pre-made dishes is more reflected in the on-site processing of complex and ceremonial dishes, such as Buddha Jumps over the Wall, Wellington steak, and sauerkraut fish.

For most young people, with limited cooking experience, pre-made dishes are a very good choice for special festive occasions.

For merchants, due to the rare ingredients, complex craftsmanship and low consumption frequency of such products, consumers can accept them conceptually even if the price is set higher.

  The trend of homogeneous competition in the market

  In addition to "hard vegetables", innovation and improvement are needed

  At present, the innovation of pre-made dishes on the market is mainly divided into dish category innovation, packaging design innovation, product concept innovation, and technological innovation.

Judging from the evaluation results, the more complex production process of dried beans, braised pork, spicy tendon, and Wellington steak have a higher overall level of innovation.

  But what can be seen is that, according to the "2020-2026 Semi-finished Vegetable Industry Market Survey and Prospect Forecast Report", as many players in the industry are pouring into the track, while the prefabricated vegetable industry is developing on a large scale, the market is also unavoidable. There is a trend of homogeneous competition, and industry barriers are difficult to establish.

How to develop a differentiated route is a difficulty that many participants of prefabricated dishes need to face together.

  Nowadays, the dishes of most prefabricated vegetable brands are still concentrated on "hard vegetables" such as pickled fish, Buddha jumping over the wall, fish maw chicken and various pot vegetables. They only produce cookie-cutter standardized items, which are difficult to satisfy consumers with tricky tastes. From the perspective of establishing product barriers, make innovations and improvements.

In addition to ensuring the freshness and timeliness of products, enterprises also need to achieve iterative upgrades by matching the core needs of consumers.

Text / Our reporter Chen Si