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Thanksgiving Holiday Prompts Sales Spike For Frozen Food

Frozen Food Month

IRI, 210 Analytics and AFFI have shared the latest data and analysis regarding the frozen food department. 

Frozen food prices on a per unit basis increased 16.8 percent in November, unchanged from the increases seen in September and October. This is more than three percentage points higher than the total store average.

Virtually all areas within frozen experienced increases in the mid-teens, with frozen fruit and vegetables and processed meat sitting in the low twenties. Seafood inflation has come down substantially, offering the question of whether it will result in an upswing in volume.  

Out-of-stocks and SKU reductions are prompting a tighter assortment in the frozen food department. Lapping the declines in assortment seen throughout 2020 and 2021, the number of items per store in the frozen food aisle averaged 1,359 in November. Year-on-year, this was down 0.8 percent but compared with 2019, assortment was down 5.1 percent.

That means the many fewer items need to work harder to accomplish the same sales and shoppers may divert dollars when finding planned purchases out-of-stock. That said, some areas have expanded in assortment since the start of the pandemic, including meals, processed meat/poultry and snacks.  

The November sales growth over 2022 levels was supported by all areas within frozen, with the exception of seafood. The biggest sales boosts came from frozen potatoes/onions and processed meat, such as chicken nuggets and sausage. The only areas to have year-on-year unit growth were processed meat and fruit. 

Thanksgiving holiday shopping and consumption patterns provide a glimpse at what the winter holiday season may look like. According to the IRI November survey, consumers are split between being excited to have something to celebrate and pulling back on spending given the reduction in purchasing power.

Meals remain central to celebrations. For Christmas, 22 percent prepare a special meal for just their household and 17 percent host or attend a meal with friends or family outside of the immediate household. Others go on a vacation, travel or had not yet made plans in the November survey for the December holidays. 

AFFI members have access to more in-depth information through the IRI portal on the AFFI website. For more information about the association, visit affi.org.

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