A. Elizabeth Sloan

New Rules for Ready-to-Eat
The $115- to $150-billion ready-to-eat (RTE) segment is exploding. Information Resources, Inc. reports that portable beverage, snack, breakfast, snack meal products, and recent “do-it-for-me” dinner solutions reached $12.7 billion just in the supermarket channel alone in 2003, enjoying a 12% compounded annual growth rate since 1998. Shelf-stable dinners with meat (up 46%), skillet and bowl dinners with meat (36%), nutrition/breakfast bars (32%), and salad kits (11%) wer…

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