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New Frozen Foods Research Shows Steady Shopping Behavior

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New research in the Power of Frozen in Retail report finds that frozen foods maintain their relevance to grocery shoppers and offer a suite of valuable benefits that meet their mealtime needs.

The third edition of the report, released Oct. 24 by the American Frozen Food Institute 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. “Frozen foods offer the complete package of solutions for today’s shoppers.”

Frozen food’s core consumers, defined as those who consume these foods daily or every few days, held at 38 percent 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 also 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, VP 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.” 

Better-for-you choices

The new research also identified that consumers turn to the frozen food aisle as they look for better-for-you products. The majority (66 percent) of core consumers are more likely to believe that the frozen food department offers a wide variety of better-for-you 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,” Bodor said. “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 percent 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. Frozen foods 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 report was unveiled at the Frozen IQ conference in Austin, Texas, to an audience of frozen manufacturers and retail leaders. The research was conducted by 210 Analytics and is made possible by Brecon Foods, Hillphoenix, Nortera and Wawona Frozen Foods.

Read more frozen foods news at The Shelby Report.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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