While rice remains an important part of the food and drink retail landscape across Asia Pacific, new research from Mintel highlights that it is India leading the way in the packaged rice market across the region. Indeed, Mintel’s new rice research reveals that new product development in packaged rice in India has more than doubled in the past two years, with over 200 packaged rice launches in 2012 compared to around 100 in 2011.

Furthermore, in 2012, India was the most active country in terms of new product development, accounting for 50% of packaged rice introductions in Asia alone, followed by Vietnam and Thailand which accounted for 10% and 8% respectively of NPD in the region. Malaysia came forth with 7% of new packaged rice launches in APAC followed by Australia with 6%.

Overall, the Indian retail rice market stood at INR 122 billion in value and 2000 (000) tonnes in volume in 2012, from INR 75.56 billion and 1200 (000) tonnes in 2010. And there is further good news for the market in the future too, as Mintel expects the market to grow even further to reach an estimated INR 333 billion and 4000 (000) tonnes by 2016 (+175%).

Ranjana Sundaresan, Food and Drink Analyst – India at Mintel, said:

“Packaged rice is becoming increasingly popular in India, especially in urban areas due to its convenience. Not so long ago, all rice used to be bought loose from small retailers, kirana stores or ration shops. Consumers could feel and taste the rice to judge their quality, but loose rice still needs manual cleaning before cooking. In the case of packaged rice this is usually not required, since the cleaning tends to be handled on a large scale by machines.”

“This time-saving convenience is one that is being appreciated across India as an increasing number of women join the workforce and are looking for quick and easy ways to reduce the time they spend in the kitchen, and can now afford to pay a little bit extra for the convenience.” Ranjana continues.

Changing lifestyles could also lead to further opportunities for the rice market in India, with labelling claims addressing specific consumer needs, such as “convenient or fast-cooking” or nutritional benefits. Indeed, in terms of convenience, 60% of all microwaveable packaged rice variants in Asia were launched in India and a further 23% carried a time or speed claim.

“In a decade of exceptional economic expansion, India has experienced rapid development, increased urbanization and changing consumer lifestyles. Cooking is increasingly driven by convenience with growing exposure to Western food and easier cooking methods and rice products have tapped into the convenience trend. Microwaveable pouch rice products have begun to appear on the market and there is room for further expansion of convenience rice products, specifically tapping into affluent consumers’ preferences.” Ranjana concludes.

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