Suddhanya Gisbert
Suddhanya (Tanya) is an Insight Analyst based in Bangkok. She is responsible for creating category-specific reports, capturing consumer and product innovations trends for the Thai market.

Things are looking up for Thailand’s ready meals market, thanks to rapid urbanisation. Families are becoming smaller and consumer lifestyles have gotten more hectic—factors that are driving demand for convenient, ready meals.

That said, this growth does not come without challenges. Consumers in Thailand are increasingly getting on board with healthy eating in their pursuit of living healthier lifestyles. And health, for one, is not something that consumers typically associate with ready meals. Moreover, competing with freshly made food that’s easily found on most street corners across the country can be tough—and to some extent, limit the price point for ready meals.

While lifestyles are changing and pushing consumers to depend on ready meals, it is clear that they are not willing to sacrifice health over convenience. In fact, Mintel research reveals that nutrition and freshness are factors that urban Thai consumers take into account when deciding what food and drink products to buy.

To gain a competitive edge over street food and, at the same time, justify a higher price point, brands in the ready meals market need to communicate clearly on-pack a product’s freshness and the nutrition provided. As well, it may help to play up the fact that it offers better hygiene to consumers.

In this blog, we take a look at key product trends that play a part in the continuous growth of Thailand’s ready meals market.

Healthier convenience

Brands are capitalising on the healthy eating trend by providing more healthy, convenient ready meal options. On top of introducing healthier ingredients, Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) shows that Thailand is seeing a rise in salad launches in the past couple of years.

My Choice Meal to Go Riceberry and Quinoa with Stir Fried Chicken with Garlic and Pepper
This on-the-go ready meal features riceberry rice mixed with quinoa. For protein, it has stir-fried chicken with garlic and boiled egg. To complete the meal, it also comes with boiled mixed vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin and broccoli.

Veggie Haus Japanese Sesame Soy Sauce Salad
This ready-to-eat product retails in a pack containing vegetables and two sachets with soy sauce and croutons.

Taste gets global with cuisine-exploring eaters

To cater to foodies and young consumers who are keen to explore new flavours, ready meal brands are taking inspiration from some authentic local dishes and introducing them in a ready meal format. Aside from the traditional Thai dishes, this flavour inspiration also expands to other popular international cuisines like Japanese, Mexican and Italian, providing consumers with more varieties to choose from.

FamilyMart Famí Stew Pork Knuckle with Rice
Stew pork knuckle rice, one of Thailand’s most popular street food options, is now made available in a frozen ready meal format.

Reo’s Deli Mashed Potato and Sausage
Inspired by the UK’s well-loved bangers and mash dish, this ready-to-eat meal features mashed potato and sausage.