Modern convenience food saw its beginnings in the period that began after World War II in the United States. Many of these products had their origins in military developed foods designed for storage longevity and ease of preparation in the battle field. After the war, many commercial food companies were left with surplus manufacturing facilities. These companies developed new lines of canned and freeze dried foods that were designed for use in the home. Like many product introductions, not all were successful—convenience food staples such as fish sticks and canned peaches were counterbalanced by failures such as ham sticks and cheeseburgers-in-a-can.
As per Ministry of Food Processing Industries the market for semi-processed/cooked and ready to eat foods was around Rs 82.9 billion in 2004-05 and is rising rapidly with a growth rate of 20 per cent. With the changing life styles of the Indian middle class and the busy schedules of both the husband and wife in the family the demand for semi-processed cooked/ready to eat food will go up steadily as hired domestic help is also becoming costlier.
Indian snack food market has reached a value of Rs 1530 crore. It is one of the largest snack markets in the world. Potato chips are by far the largest product category within snacks, with 85% of the total market share. Snack nuts and savory snacks also add to the market. At present, popcorn has yet to break into the Indian market.