Sun, Jan 08, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Ready-made New Year meals increasing in popularity

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sales of pre-ordered dishes for Lunar New Year festivities are on the rise, with a growing number of families around the country opting to order in the main meal to celebrate the traditional holiday rather than prepare it themselves.

Local convenience stores and supermarkets launched promotional campaigns for pre-ordered dishes at the end of last month, ahead of the Lunar New Year, which starts on Jan. 23 this year.

The nation’s leading convenience store chain 7-Eleven, which has collaborated with five-star hotels and top restaurants to provide New Year meals for many years, said its sales of dishes for the holidays had been “steadily increasing.”

The chain expected the number of customers taking advantage of its New Year meals to be higher than the 500,000 households that bought specially prepared dishes last year.

Sean Yang, a senior public relations specialist at the FamilyMart convenience store chain, said its sales of pre-ordered holiday meals were up 50 percent from last year, which he attributed to the relatively early holiday this year and changing consumer habits.

“More and more people choose to buy meals [for the occasion] instead of cooking themselves,” he said, adding that some Lunar New Year dishes can take hours to prepare.

Supermarkets are also active in the market and offering on-site samples so that consumers can first taste dishes before deciding what to buy. Some are staying open around the clock to accommodate the surge in shopping expected ahead of the holiday.

Retail giant RT-Mart said that it has sold more than 7,000 sets of “self-select dish combos” over the past two weeks, a 20 percent increase on last year, while supermarket chain Carrefour has seen its sales of pre-ordered dishes double.

“We did not expect such high sales figures because of the global economic downturn, but it seems that traditional holidays still drive up sales,” Carrefour Taiwan public relations manager Dream Lin (林夢紹) said.

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