The good old TV dinner has come a long way from the limited range of microwavable slop dished out in the 1950s. Today it’s called a "ready meal", and actually looks and tastes like the vegetables and meats it professes to be. Take your pick from a chicken burrito bake at Woolworths (R134), quinoa-coated chicken fillets with roasted butternut (R169 at Checkers), or that old standby, lasagna, at R99 from Pick n Pay. And local consumers are increasingly turning to these meals for dinner, rather than slaving in their kitchens at the end of a long day. "If they are coming home at 6pm, they don’t really have time to cook," says Anthony Clark, Small Talk Daily research analyst. He says retailers have put a lot of effort into developing ready meals priced at a point that middle-class consumers are comfortable with.  The convenience food trend has resulted in consumer goods manufacturer and distributor Libstar launching 387 new private-label ready-meal products in the year to end-December fo...

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