They’re are in our homes, our supermarkets, our petrol stations, our hospitals, our recreation centres. Convenient food is everywhere, tempting us with their deliciousness and pretty packaging.

Many even lie to you like a common thief with their allegations of natural colours, no preservatives, and the worst of all FAT-FREE which generally equates to ‘packed with sugar’.  But because that didn’t sound all that good to the advertising executives they opted for the ‘fat-free’ wording instead.

Thankfully, businesses where we tend to ‘impulse buy’ are offering a wider range of convenience foods these days, more in keeping with a balanced diet. Of course, we all love a piece of chocolate or a bag of chips every now and then, but it is clear customers are also enjoying alternatives such as fresh fruit, as is evident by the near 20,000 pieces of fruit Produce Pronto supplied via these channels in January alone.

Perhaps consumers are changing because of a noticeable increase in weight gain in New Zealanders which lead to a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

As we get older many of us care less about fitting into jeans from 10 years ago and care more about being healthy so we live longer and having a strong body, so it doesn’t break.

There is also another kind of convenient food consumers are gravitating towards – online shopping.  We know some converters of online grocery shopping who would now never do it any other way because it is well, just too damn convenient!  It saves money because you shop from a list and don’t browse the aisles, you can have it done by the time it takes to find a carpark plus, you can order in your pyjamas any time of the day or night. Bliss.

About 80,000 Kiwis buy their groceries online and that number is tipped to rise, according to a new Neilsen study of shopping trends. The study revealed grocery retailers’ digital footprint will expand in the years ahead as they identify new ways to engage and sell profitably through online channels.

So it seems convenience foods are set to stay with a definite push towards businesses who can provide healthier options with the emphasis on availability, speed and value. Be it value for money or value of time.

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