Whether you call them microwave meals, frozen meals, ready meals, or you’ve given them another name altogether — there’s no denying the impact they’ve had on our eating habits.
By now you’ve likely tried at least one from a bunch of emerging brands — and have probably enjoyed it too. Me? I’m partial to a beef and bacon pasta bake, and I know I’m not the only person fond of the microwave meal. GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting company, found that the Asia Pacific region is the largest ready-to-eat/prepared meals marketing in the world. Oh! There’s another name — prepared meals.
In fact, we make up 32.5% of that set, and it’s projected that the Australian ready meals market will be worth $1.58 billion in three years time. As for why we’re flocking to them? It’s due to rapid urbanisation, higher employment, and busier lifestyles.
If you’re sitting there thinking that they must just be packed with sodium and other nasties, you’re very late to the party — in fact, that party has ended entirely. It’s like Health.com said, ready-made meals have undergone a “healthy renaissance”, and a number of dietitians actually recommend them now.
Top Australian dietitian Susie Burrell is an advocate for their nutritional content, and in the midst of the pandemic, recommended people get on board with meal delivery services. She ended up ranking them for Body+Soul, and declared that My Muscle Chef was her favourite pre-made meal option, saying they “strike a great balance between portion size, macronutrient ranges and great looking and tasting meals”.
Not only for the time-poor office workers, but actual athletes are now looking to these meals as a means of fueling up with nutritional, nourishing ingredients. Rising NRL star, Nick Cotric — a winger and centre for the Bulldogs who has also played for the New South Wales rugby league team — tells The Latch he was “pretty intrigued” when he spotted fellow athletes eating the meals.
Cotric cites not loving cooking at the best of times, combined with the “fairly intense” training and playing schedule as his reasoning for getting on board My Muscle Chef.
“They take the guesswork out,” said Cotric, adding that his fave is Braised Beef Ragu with Polenta & Roast Vegetables. “I don’t need to carefully judge food for their calories and macros.
“Getting the right nutrition is pretty important in terms of energy, performance and maintaining weight during the season.”
So there it is, your excuse not to cook tonight and grab a pre-prepared meal instead.