The Covid-19 Pandemic Gives New Revival to Frozen Foods
According to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, frozen foods grew $918 million for the year ending June 29, 2019.
While the frozen foods category has been steadily declining over the past several years, this recent turnaround has some experts saying that the Covid-19 pandemic is to thank for its strong revival.1
According to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, frozen foods grew $918 million for the year ending June 29, 2019. This data indicates that new growth was happening in the category even prior to Covid-19 outbreak in the US. As food manufacturers have shifted their product portfolios to provide more healthful, novel options, shoppers have been keen to fill up their grocery carts and baskets with frozen items.1
However, as soon as surge buying began in response to the coronavirus, frozen food sales turned into a powerhouse category. In mid-March frozen food sales in the US spiked 94% and are holding steady at a 30-35% growth rate according to Virgnia-based American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and research partner 210 Analytics.2
The top reasons consumers cite when shopping for more frozen foods include long shelf-life benefits (60%), the ability to stockpile frozen items in case of shortages (58%), and the desire to limit shopping trip frequency (51%). What’s more, the majority of consumers polled plan to continue their trend of purchasing more frozen foods even after the pandemic, says AFFI and 210 Analytics.2
Looking to the future, in order to maintain this category surge, it will be important for food manufacturers to remain aware of changing consumer tastes and preferences. For instance, a 2020 survey conducted by Cargill revealed that consumers are more discerning of certain ingredients in frozen meals than they are in other categories, or in foods and beverages overall.3
Specifically, shoppers are much more salt-averse when looking to buy frozen foods. If salt is included on the ingredient label, respondents indicated that they would be 16% more likely to avoid it compared to shoppers of food and beverages overall. Since frozen foods may contain higher sodium levels than some other food categories, it will be essential for manufacturers to continue uncovering new ways to lower sodium and appeal to this growing market.
Cargill Salt has a wide variety of sodium reduction ingredients to help our customers achieve their lower sodium goals. Learn more at https://www.cargill.com/food-beverage/na/sodium_reduction.
- Cargill Proprietary Research: 2020 IngredienTracker™ Survey