Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Frozen Food Court Pays Dividends

Restaurants have been stocking the Frozen Food Court in grocery store aisle longer than our Grocerant Guru® has been helping them ‘look a customer ahead’. That said today the frozen food court continues to be a valued branding avenue of distribution that restaurants should not overlook, according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

This should not be news to anyone, but the numbers are impressive just the same.  In a new report they found that frozen foods were among the fastest-growing categories during pandemic, with clear signs that Americans’ fondness for frozen food will continue to grow even after the pandemic. The simple fast is that the 'Frozen Food Court' does not diminish stores sales, it elevates brand awareness. 

Consumers were searching for cost-efficient items with a longer shelf life during the pandemic, and they found what they were looking for in the frozen food aisle. So, in 2020, frozen food sales grew in both dollars (up 21%) and units (up 13.3%), with nearly all types of frozen foods seeing double-digit sales increases, according to the "Power of Frozen 2021" report from the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and FMI — the Food Industry Association.

Alison Bodor, president and CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based AFFI stated, “Frozen foods are a pandemic powerhouse, ringing in $65.1 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 21% increase compared to a year ago,”.

This sales surge was helped by shoppers turning to e-commerce at a record rate, as online frozen food dollar sales increased 75%. Over the past year, 42% of households that buy frozen foods have bought frozen foods online, up from 23% in 2018. Note: consumers learn and they will not forget that saving money matters as much as saving times.

Consider when the consumer asks What’s for dinner?  Is it any wonder that frozen dinners/entrees, meat, poultry and seafood proved to be the biggest online sellers? In fact, when asked if they wanted to cook dinner from scratch or assemble dinner from fresh meal components 90.4 % of Gen Z chose assemble from Fresh Prepared Meal Components and Millennials 82.7% chose meal components.

The grocerant niche halo of ‘better-for-you’ continues to pay a leading role. The report continued saying “The health-and-wellness craze has also infiltrated the frozen food aisle. Frozen food consumers are most likely to be interested in “real” ingredients, followed by fresh frozen and the absence of artificial colors.…

The interest in fresh frozen also aligns with another key finding from the "Power of Frozen 2021" report. To most frozen food consumers (72%), it’s not frozen or fresh — it’s frozen and fresh. “Mixing fresh and frozen in the same meal is a tell-tale trait of our core frozen food consumers,”. Yes, the focus of the consumer in the frozen food court sounds a lot like grocerant niche messaging, and it should for good reason.

Doug Baker, VP of industry relations at Arlington-based FMI stated, “Shoppers are nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and are having more family meals at home than ever before,"…  "They are looking for meal plans, culinary creativity, and convenient, cost-effective solutions. The frozen foods category offers these benefits to shoppers, and that’s why we see all areas — from meal ingredients to meal solutions — reaching new audiences and increasing purchases.”

The top three frozen food categories with the largest percentage of dollar growth in 2020, according to Chicago-based IRI, are:

·         Seafood (up 35.3%)

·         Poultry (up 34.7%)

·         Appetizers (up 28.9%)

Bodor, sounding more like our won Grocerant Guru®, stated, “It’s not just about what’s for dinner, especially for our core frozen food consumers," . "All meal occasions — dinner, lunch, snacks and breakfast — are contributing to an increase in frozen food purchases.”

Are you looking for a new partnership to drive top-line sales and bottom-line profits? Foodservice Solutions® team has deep connections within the grocerant niche for fresh food manufacturing, fresh frozen manufacturing, packaging, and new points of distribution.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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