“The Power of Frozens” will be front and center in more ways that one during the February 23-26 American Frozen Food Institute Convention (AFFI-CON) at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. A session on that subject, based on a study designed and authored by Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics, will take place from 7:15 to 8:45 AM on Monday, the 25th. Joining Ms. Roerink in making the presentation will be AFFI President & CEO Alison Bodor and Sally Lyons Wyatt of IRI.
The frozen food aisle in US supermarkets is in the midst of a strong comeback, featuring multi-year sales growth ahead of both center-store and the perimeter. To understand the why, where and who behind this growth, the Power of Frozen study took an in-depth look at the market through the eyes of consumers. It followed the entire path to purchase – from frozen food trip planning and store choice to purchase drivers, consumption and cooking habits.
In 2018, sales in both dollar terms (+2.6%) and units (+2.3%) advanced, with nine out of 10 top selling categories in receipts generated and all 10 up in units. Total retail frozen food sales in the United States hit nearly $57 billion.
The entrée category was the No. 1 money maker, ringing up $9.2 billion. However, the top 3 frozen food categories with the largest percentage of dollar growth were: Soups/Sides, +9.8%; Appetizers/Snack Rolls, +5.8%; Breakfast Food, +5.7%.
In today’s consumer environment, players in the frozen food industry have to cater to five distinctly different generations. Increasingly, one size fits no one. Shoppers’ frozen food buying decisions are influenced by larger trends, such as health and wellness, convenience and transparency. By overlaying shopper attitudes with actual sales and consumption data, the Power of Frozen outlines important red flags and opportunities in the marketplace to help manufacturers and retailers further align innovation, products, merchandising, marketing and branding with how consumers live, shop and cook.
Logistics and Food Safety
Two afternoon sessions, one focusing on logistics and the other on food safety, are scheduled on the 25th. The first, entitled “Global Supply Chain Challenges & Opportunities,” will be presented from 12 to 1:30 PM by Rick Blasgen, president of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).
Blasgen will discuss CSCMP’s Annual US State of Logistics Report, which identifies not only the cost of logistics in the US, but driving factors and trends affecting the global transportation sector, e-commerce, and potential market disruptions and their impact on supply chains.
The timely topic of “Food Safety and Recall Readiness” will be on the front burner from 4:30 to 5:30 PM, when the podium is occupied by crisis manager Gene Grabowski of the Kglobal public relations company and attorney Elizabeth Fawell of Hogan Lovells.
Grabowski has extensive experience helping companies manage recalls, having worked with Bluebell Ice Cream, Chipotle, Dole Foods, and most recently, on the romaine lettuce recall. He has also liaised directly with AFFI member companies on Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) issues, and is thus well versed on what needs to be done to prepare in advance of an possible recall, how to act during the process, and afterward.
Fawell has offered legal advice to every segment of the food industry, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, and foodservice operators, as well as trade associations. Working on behalf of food industry clients with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) since its inception, coupled with a keen understanding of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems has provided her with the knowledge and perspective needed to counsel clients on how to comply with new. She understands how laws, regulations, and guidance documents are developed, interpreted, and enforced.
Business and Agriculture Talks
There will be plenty to learn on February 24 as well. Author Kevin Paul Scott will kick off Sunday’s program with a talk from 7:15 to 7:45 AM based on his latest book, entitled “The Lens of Leadership.”
Scott is the co-founder the leadership consultancy ADDO, which is Latin for “Inspire.” He works with businesses to develop leaders and build their brands, including Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
Dr. Daniel Sumner of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center will be in the spotlight from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. He will provide an outlook on the agricultural economy affecting fruits, vegetables and grains used by the frozen food industry. Also on the agenda will be discussion of changing weather patterns, how access to labor impacts the supply chain, global trade and changing food safety requirements.
Exhibitors on Scene to See
As always, exhibitors from the frozen food production, logistics, equipment sectors and other supply and service segments will occupy stands before and after sessions, as well as during breaks. Among those on hand will be Tropical Acai, Norpac, RefrigiWear, Tippmann Group, Hanson Logistics, Buhler Group, Tomra, Octofrost, Hansen-Rice.
For more details about AFFI-CON, including registration information, visit www.affi.con or call the trade association’s conferences department by ringing +1 703-821-0770.