The third edition of the Power of Frozen in Retail, released on October 24 by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and FMI – The Food Industry Association, reports that frozen food sales reached $74.2 billion over the last year and that the core consumer audience remains steady, indicating a bright future ahead for performance. In a survey of more than 1,700 consumers, respondents indicated they find value in frozen foods as total meal solutions that save them time, are easy to prepare, and meet their taste expectations.
“The Power of Frozen in Retail shows that the category retains reliable performance and draws consistent core shoppers since before 2020, creating predictability for retailers and opportunities for future success,” said AFFI president and CEO Alison Bodor. “Frozens offer the complete package of solutions for today’s shoppers.”
Frozen food’s core consumers, defined as those who eat these foods daily or every few days, held at 38% of all shoppers. In addition to appreciating the convenience and time-savings made possible by frozen foods, the core consumer also reports enjoying the quality and nutrition found in the frozen food aisle.
New this year, the Power of Frozen in Retail showcases merchandising and retailing scenarios that may help spur additional trial and usage among shoppers. This includes tips and scenarios that retailers can take straight to the store, such as cross-merchandising ideas and secondary co-locations for frozen products. The report also includes insights on consumer demands that can help inspire new product assortment strategies, such as packaging trends.
“For food retailers, this report is filled with ideas on how to meet the shoppers’ evolving perception of value,” said Rick Stein, vice president of industry relations at FMI. “Shoppers are looking beyond price and quality and considering the experience, convenience and relevance that products and their grocery store offer them. For shoppers, frozen foods help meet this new definition of value.”
The new research also identified that consumers turn to the frozen food aisle as they look for better-for-you products. The majority (66%) of core consumers are more likely to believe that the frozen food department offers a wide variety of such options. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of shoppers occasionally or frequently look for better-for-you attributes when purchasing frozen foods.
“Both core consumers and the general shopper are looking for frozen foods that meet their specific lifestyle,” added Bodor. “With a range of products available in the frozen food aisle, the category is filled with options frozen at the peak of freshness and providing quality nutrition.”
Consumers also plan to continue their purchases of frozen foods into the future, with 94% predicting to buy the same or more frozen products in the coming months. Alongside a consistent core consumer base, the data illustrates a core consumer audience that appreciates the value they find in frozen foods.
“Frozen foods remain relevant to shoppers through product innovation, variety and important attributes like sustainability and health and well-being. They continue to be essential to shoppers and there is an opportunity for food retailers to apply the insights from core frozen food shoppers to other shoppers and see real gains,” said Stein.
The third edition of the Power of Frozen in Retail was unveiled at the Frozen IQ conference in Austin, Texas, to an audience of frozen product manufacturers and retail leaders. The research was conducted by 210 Analytics and is made possible by Brecon Foods, Hillphoenix, Nortera and Wawona Frozen Foods.