This year’s New Year’s Eve, their New Year’s Eve dinner comes from KFC and Hema Xiansheng|Spring Festival Special

Friends who love to surf the Internet last year should have read such a story – a Japanese mother with a child took a box of potato salad in the supermarket, and an elderly man on the side said after seeing it, "As a mother, a dish like potato salad is good. Do it yourself."

It is unknown whether this story is true or not, but it has become a hot topic among the public. People talk about how difficult it is to be a mother, whether the men who say it never do housework, and even how troublesome it is to make potato salad. The final conclusion is that potato salad may seem simple, but it takes time to peel the potatoes, add vegetables and even season them.

Because of this, the decision threshold for consumers to directly buy the prepared potato salad is very low, the price is not expensive and it saves time, why not buy it? Perhaps because there are more and more people like this, the size of the Japanese prefabricated vegetable market in 2020 will reach US$23.85 billion, the industry penetration rate is over 60%, and the per capita consumption of prefabricated vegetables is 11.04 kg, which means that most Japanese consumers are buying prefabricated vegetables. vegetable.

▲ Potato salad

Only in China, the household penetration rate of prepared dishes has only reached 1/19 of Japan. The development of prepared dishes in China is a more uneven, younger, faster story.

What is a pre-cooked dish, as the name suggests, a dish that is prepared in advance.

Instant noodles, canned food, self-heating rice, these are pre-made dishes. With them, you can heat ingredients without the need for a fire, scalding hot water, seasoning packets that have been prepared, or cans that are ready to eat right out of the box, they are pre-made dishes that are made ahead of time, making it easier for you to eat.

Frozen dumplings, local vacuum-packed specialties purchased from e-commerce sites, fish balls and beef balls, which are also pre-made dishes. They basically do not need any processing and seasoning, and they can collide with other dishes to create new sparks. They are simple to make and just heat.

▲ A brand’s pre-made vegetable gift box on Taobao

The sealed shredded potatoes that have been shredded, the coconut chicken set meal prepared with coconut flakes, chicken nuggets, and coconut water, and the boxed fried meat that has been seeded and cut from the peppers. These are also pre-made dishes. You also need to fry the seasoning, but the preparation process is greatly shortened. No need to wash and cut vegetables, you just need to enjoy the joy of cooking.

Jing Liang, who will be 30 years old, is a big fan of pre-made dishes. She tasted instant instant rice in a tourist attraction many years ago. At that time, she thought it was a replica of instant noodles, just because the development of technology has extended to the field of rice.

▲ Instant noodles and self-heating rice are very fast. Image source: Asia Daily

The pre-made dishes in her eyes belong to the "Jingcai" in the fresh food brand group buying in the community. Washed vegetables and fruits and cut meat are her favorites.

It used to take more than an hour to cook, but in fact, the preparation process took too long, and it could be done in half an hour after buying it. I didn’t cook often before, and I didn’t know how to cut shredded potatoes. It took a lot of time to cut vegetables, and I cut them intermittently. I cut the handle of the grater I bought before, so I insisted on buying pre-made vegetables on it. .

Overall this treated dish will be a bit more expensive. But to be honest, I don't know much about the price of the dishes. I don't feel very expensive, but the convenience is real. My mom will tell me to eat less takeout, and she will also talk about letting me cook my own meals (not buying pre-made dishes), but in contrast, I think she doesn't want me to eat takeout.

▲ Some clean dishes will also be equipped with seasoning packets, you only need to fry them. Image from: Guanmai Fresh SaaS Service Platform

Also ambiguous about the concept of pre-made dishes is that he often goes to the convenience store to buy bento at work for a long time. He gave up the meal card quota provided by the company's canteen, and instead preferred takeout lunches because the choices were more abundant. But he also only eats chicken leg rice from the convenience store. Other rice tastes too heavy and is not in his consideration. In his opinion, the convenience store bento and pre-made dishes can't be linked.

As a fan of KFC, I have long felt that the "Free Kitchen" products I have purchased are more like pre-made dishes, such as pasta set, fish maw chicken soup, fish fried rice and so on. Because these dishes still need to be cooked by themselves, the environment of frying and stewing in a pot is more in line with his cognition of "vegetables", which can save time, but also does not lack some fireworks.

But at the end of the day, everything from instant noodles to quick-frozen dumplings, from convenience store bentos to restaurant pot dishes, from coconut chicken sets to cut ingredients, are all pre-made dishes.

▲ Daily Youxian and Hema Fresh pre-made dishes

At the beginning of this year, the concept stocks of pre-made dishes broke out collectively, which is one of the highlights of pre-made dishes in recent years. Since the beginning of the epidemic, capital and brands have always favored pre-made dishes.

In March 2020, Hema established a 3R business unit for this purpose – Ready to cook, ready to heat, ready to eat. You can also call it the pre-cooked dish business department, after all, instant cooking, instant heating, and instant eating are the characteristics of pre-cooked dishes. During the epidemic, Xibei Xiaomian Village and Haidilao, which were hotly searched due to the founder's appeal and the price increase of dishes, also deployed pre-made dishes at the same time to deal with possible competition.

▲ Xibei pre-made Mongolian cheese cake, grassland sheep scorpion

In the eyes of investors and brands, pre-made dishes may be the next "window". Because during the epidemic, there was a special period of time when you could only cook at home, which is of great benefit to cultivating the consumption habits of young consumers. The product characteristics of pre-made dishes themselves lowering the cooking threshold are likely to hit the pain points of many young consumers, and the future will be a trillion-dollar market.

But in the eyes of young people, pre-made dishes may be far less appealing.

Take the pasta of KFC’s free kitchen as an example. The price of a piece of pasta is about 26 yuan. Compared with the pasta in the restaurant, it is not expensive, but compared with the take-out 20+ package with a drink, it is definitely not cheap. . "Takeaway passes through coupons or something, and a meal can be controlled at around 20. On the contrary, a bag of self-cooked pasta costs 26. The amount is small and the dishes need to be washed."

▲ Photo courtesy of the interviewee, pasta in KFC’s free kitchen

If it's just to save money and convenience, pre-made dishes are probably far from a good option. Haidilao’s self-heating hot pot is close to 40 yuan. With this money, you may be able to order Mala Tang a lot in terms of category, and you don’t need to add or boil water. Pre-made dishes are still in the development stage, and they may be far inferior to take-out in terms of the richness of categories and the attractiveness of pricing.

Many young users who have the habit of consuming pre-made dishes said that compared with pre-made dishes, takeout is the first choice. Only in the case of a small number of friends gathering, they will buy pre-made dishes and cook with friends to relax. In their view, takeout is a kind of daily consumption, and pre-made dishes may be more like watching movies and KTV for them, and belong to entertainment consumption, making them easier to cook.

▲ Hema's pre-made dishes

Trusted supermarkets, familiar platforms, and even the choice of dishes seen by takeaways may be the reasons why users choose pre-made dishes for the first time.

Unlike the brand's imagination to welcome young consumers, pre-made dishes have conquered a large number of users who have the habit of cooking. Aunt Chen, 51, is used to preparing a few big dishes before friends come. The salted duck she brought back from Nanjing, the marinated grilled fish bought in the vegetable market, and the sour soup chicken with seasoning packs are all within her choice.

She doesn't think these things are unhealthy, but thinks that the production process is transparent and delicious. It is not a small burden to prepare nearly 10 dishes when entertaining relatives and friends. At this time, the pre-made dishes purchased before can be helpful at critical times and reduce some cooking time. For such groups who often cook, pre-made dishes are as efficient as mobile phones.

▲ Hema pre-made dishes

Of course, when it comes to takeout, Aunt Chen is back to being an opponent. "How can you eat more takeaway? You don't know if it's clean or not. You don't know how to make it. The news has been reported. High oil and high salt are unhealthy."

It's just that during times like Chinese New Year, pre-made dishes are more popular than you might think.

When I got home for a long time, I found that my father had bought Poon Choi, which was priced at 888. It can be eaten after heating. It is said to be the work of a Michelin chef. There are many abalones, but the taste is really not that amazing. Just as a "hard dish", its existence successfully reduced the pressure on Dad to prepare the New Year's Eve dinner, and kept the lower limit of "eat something good".

▲ Pre-made dishes can also be very advanced

And for others returning home, pre-cooked meals may be a way to share. @咿咿AAA Ya’s home is in the north, and she rarely drinks sweet soup. Before the logistics was about to stop, she bought a coconut chicken set meal at home and made it for her parents when she got home. "My dad likes it very much, and my mom says I'm not used to it, but I think it makes sense for them to try it."

Even in small towns with relatively less developed economy, @咿咰AAA also found that there are more and more pre-made dishes. In addition to stockpiling a lot of ingredients at home, parents also have a lot of food that can be eaten only by heating. The shops downstairs also have matching dishes, but not so many people buy them.

▲ Picture from: "Like You"

Yanan, who is celebrating Chinese New Year this year, also plans to use pre-made dishes to get everything done. She bought four dishes on the fresh food platform and planned to make her own New Year's Eve dinner. This model of providing raw materials according to the dishes is very suitable for her who only intends to cook once. It will not cause too much waste, and it can also shorten the time. However, from watching her parents cook the New Year's Eve dinner to buying vegetables for the New Year's Eve dinner, she feels that the "New Year's Eve" is getting less and less.

In the past, when I went back to my hometown for Chinese New Year, I bought castrated old hens and raised them a long time in advance, and I had to kill the chickens before I prepared them. The chicken I bought this time has been chopped up, and the wolfberry for the soup does not need to be specially prepared. Convenience is convenient, but it doesn't feel like a special sense of ceremony.

This year, I feel that Chinese New Year is just an ordinary day, nothing different.

Not too interesting, not too optimistic.

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