After a busy day at work we often lack the physical or mental energy to start conjuring up a delicious meal. Add demanding kids into the mix and we soon find ourselves reaching for something that we can just shove into the oven with little thought.

Convenience foods are foods that need minimal or no preparation. Often they come chilled or frozen. Perhaps the most common convenience food is the frozen pizza which takes up quite a bit of the frozen space in a supermarket and comes in an astounding array of different styles and toppings. It is estimated that the global frozen pizza market amounts to a staggering 16.2 billion U.S. dollars a year.

The selection of convenience foods reflects on trend foods and that can change frequently. They can come as part of meals or as a full meal. They come in individual servings for the person living on their own or in multipacks for families to share.

I doubt that restaurants would like it publicized but many of them actually serve convenience foods. They may be specially formulated and unavailable in the supermarket but they are cooked elsewhere and just need heating up.

Convenience food had a reputation of being substandard quality and easily identifiable as such. They were also considered to be a form of junk food but all of this changing at a staggering rate. The reason for this change is that consumers are becoming much more demanding. They expect their food to taste authentic and tasty but also expect it to be nutritiously sound with as few additives and preservatives as possible and of course they expect it to be low in salt and sugar.

Another revolution in the sector is the diets they are now trying to cater for. More and more people are becoming vegan or vegetarian. In fact in the US the vegan community is somewhere between 2%-6% of the population and growing. Consequently, the range of vegan and vegetarian food in the supermarkets has increased dramatically recently and the quality has improved. Restaurants and cafeterias need to cater for these people but pressures mean that often they are forced to buy in their vegetarian food.

An example of a company stepping up and producing gourmet vegan and vegetarian food is Chef Man . Based in Israel where the vegetarian and vegan population is one of the highest in the world, they produce meat substitute products for both the private and corporate market. They know that just producing tasty vegan food is not enough, it has to be healthy and cater for as wide an audience as possible. They therefore make sure that their food is gluten free and made to the highest international standards.

The convenience food market has really been revolutionized. It is no longer presumed to be tasteless, unhealthy and substandard. The stigma of buying convenience food is slowly lifting as not only can they produce food that the private chef may not be able to produce but people invariably can’t tell that it was produced in a factory and not in a private kitchen!