Ready Meals Industry ESG Thematic Report, 2023

Ready Meals Industry ESG Thematic Report, 2023

Compliance, ESG Challenges & Framework, ESG Trends

  • Published Date: Nov, 2022
  • Report ID: Astra-100162
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Number of Pages: 62

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) in Ready Meals Industry

Growing importance has been placed on environmental, social, and governance factors in the investment process. ESG factors, also known as non-financial factors, are increasingly used by investors to identify potential growth opportunities and material risks across companies, countries, and nations.

A ready meal is a convenience food that can influence ESG factors such as global warming, supply chains, consumer health, product life cycles, waste, packaging, and more. Food that is readily available and easy to prepare has been widely criticized for negatively impacting the environment, due to its high water, energy, and waste usage compared to homemade food products. Examples of fast food include soft drinks, processed meat, and instant noodles.

In terms of impacts, frozen ready-made meals that are heated in an oven have the worst impacts. In the same way, chilled ready-made meals have a higher impact than frozen meals. Global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer are influenced by the type of refrigerant used in the supply chain. A frozen meal made from fresh ingredients and warmed at home in a microwave has the lowest ESG impact of the ready-made meal.

ESG Trends

Changing people's eating habits towards more environmentally sustainable food consumption patterns (ESFCs) is becoming increasingly challenging. It is notoriously hard for people to change their food preferences, choices, and eating habits, as they are central to their lifestyles and sociocultural surroundings. In developed countries, ready meals (also known as convenience food) are becoming increasingly popular alongside consumers' demand for sustainable food products. Minimally processed vegetables are one of these products showing a positive trend. However, their production has negative environmental effects as well.

Several impacts can be attributed to packaging, including global warming, the depletion of fossil fuels, and human toxicity. Homemade and ready-to-eat meals have three major hotspots: ingredients, waste, and cooking method. If organic ingredients are used instead of conventional ingredients, the impact is greater. With the increasing pressure on brands to offer eco-friendly products, packaged food boxes are shifting toward plant-based/vegan ingredients and sustainable packaging materials.

As part of its consumer and industrial packaging line, a manufacturer has introduced trays which can be recycled in paper streams for packaged and frozen food. New trays include the Pack Tray PET, which has a thin PET lining classified as monomaterial, making it suitable for recycling in paper streams.

There are many other impacts that ready meals or convenience food have on the health and safety of consumers, including the fact that they are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and trans-fats. There are fewer essential nutrients in convenience foods, such as vitamins and water, which are needed to maintain the body's health and function. In the processing of food, many nutrients are lost, including vitamins. Many convenience foods are contaminated due to the fact they are prepared in a laboratory rather than derived naturally. This can cause gastrointestinal disorders, infertility, and organ damage.

For the future, nutrition-driven food systems must sit within environmental constraints. Increasing the efficiency of food production will certainly be necessary. However, on its own, this approach cannot produce a sustainable food system. Equal consideration must be given to the issues raised by the other framings as well. Increasing the supply and consumption of plant-based foods with a lower impact on the environment can be achieved by moderating the demand for foods that have high environmental impacts.

Growth of the Ready Meals Market

As of 2021, the global ready meal market was valued at USD 143.86 billion and is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% from 2022 to 2030. In addition to being cost-effective, ready meals are available all year round and are precooked so they take less time to prepare. The changing food preferences of consumers are likely to increase market growth due to the busy schedules of working people and college students. Consumer choices play a significant role in economic and environmental impacts; therefore, industry, government, and consumers groups need to develop better communication strategies to ensure this industry functions sustainably. Packaging waste created by the convenience food market is one of the most pressing ESG issue which can create a significant impact on the planet.

Furthermore, for the ready-made meals sector to develop sustainably, future policies and industrial initiatives should consider a life cycle approach that takes economic, ecological, and social factors into account.

Scope of the Ready Meals Industry ESG Thematic Report: 

    • Macro-economic and ESG-variable analysis of the industry, including regulatory, policy, and innovation landscape

    • Key insights on infrastructure developments and ESG issues affecting the theme

    • Identify key initiatives and challenges within the industry

    • Identify ESG leaders within the industry

    • Understand key initiatives and the impact of companies within the sector to fuel an informed decision-making process.

    • Analysis of industry activities based on multi-media sources, including significant controversies and market sentiment

Key Companies in this theme

    • Nestlé

    • General Mills, Inc.

    • Kellogg Company

    • Conagra Brands, Inc.

    • Tyson Foods, Inc.

    • Dr. Oetker

Key Benefits the Ready Meals Industry ESG Thematic Report: 

    • Developing a comprehensive understanding of macro-economic, Policies & Regulations and innovations affecting the convenience food sector, globally

    • Key insights into Infrastructure developments and ESG issues affecting the theme

    • Identifying ESG risks and opportunities to business among leading players in the ready meals market

    • Obtaining a clear and relevant understanding of company actions, progress, and impact and find opportunities for investment

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