Homebound consumers & health seekers: frozen food sales soured in 2020

Frozen food sales soured 17.4% between November 2020 and the same month in 2019, according to data from IRI and the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) reported by Winsight Grocery Business. The space´s growth out did the other category sales for all food items, which only rose 9.3% during the same time period. 

Frozen food was once typically maintained as an unhealthy alternative, consumed more or less whimsically in a time constrained manner. Even pre-covid this image was being turned on its head however, with consumers finding new frozen brands that were healthier and more innovative. With customers gearing towards the frozen food ailses we saw the virus power this demand, with sales spiking 70% between March and April 2020, according to a survey by the American Frozen Food Institute. During these months half of consumers reported they would purchase more frozen alternatives in the coming months.

Changing shopping behaviours in the frozen food ailse
Following this sales boost, the space continued to maintain steam. 

To help change the obsolete image of their frozen food brand, many companies and manufacturers have transformed their packaging and started to innovate their offerings, including the leveraging of more global flavors and ingredients – and according to research, it seems to be working.

An April survey from the American Frozen Food Institute stated 7% of consumers who rarely or never purchased frozen food pre-pandemic were now trying these products. Its no surprise that the consumers willing to try new products come from the demographics of Gen Z and high-earning millennial households with children.

The study discovered that the foods most regularly purchased included meat and poultry, vegetables and pizza, stating that roughly one in three consumers chose to stock up on these items.

Why are consumers going frozen?
Frozen food brands are not only offering new choices but they are actually more economical, especially during hard times of covid when consumers are looking to stock up to avoid food shortages. Its also easier and more practical than buying single ingredients and helps limit shopping trips.

With restaurants closing consumers sought out new ways to enjoy food at home. According to a report by sales and marketing agency Acosta at-home consumers are now tired of cooking for themselves and are seeking new sources of convenience food, to make mealtime easier and save on food prep and clean up.

Whats next? Frozen options are increasingly more valued by consumers, especially during the pandemic. Frozen foods shelf life, convenience and economic offering seem to be crucial at the minute, and with food manufacturers and new brands using new international flavours, tastes and ingredients to savor a more modernized pallette, frozen food could enjoy success well into 2021.

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