HARRISBURG, Pa., June 14, 2018 (PRNewswire) — The news for frozen food is good. The conversation is changing, consumer perceptions are on the rise — and now the numbers are showing growth in the category after a number of years of decline, as evidenced in this new Frozen Foods Have Never Been Hotter Infographic.
- Results from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association's (NFRA) recent March Frozen Food Month promotion showed a 1.9% increase in unit sales and 2.2% in dollar sales, according to Nielsen – the best March performance for the frozen food category in five years*.
- A recent RBC Capital Markets report showed volume growth for the frozen category turned positive for the first time in five years, up 1% for the 12 weeks ending March 10. Frozen meals and appetizers, which make up 35% of the category, saw sales growth of 3%, the highest in five years.
- Nielsen reported that frozen food dollar sales in the U.S. rose 1.4% in the last year, with frozen vegetables particularly strong, jumping 4.5%.
- Acosta's The Future of Frozen report showed 26% of total U.S. grocery shoppers shopping in the frozen foods department more frequently than last year with Millennials leading the way. Forty-three percent said they had bought more frozen items than the previous year, spending 9% more than average households per trip on frozen foods in 2017.
Many NFRA member companies, including Conagra, Pinnacle Foods, B&G Foods and Kellogg are all reporting positive frozen food growth for many of their frozen brands like Healthy Choice, Birds Eye, Green Giant, Eggo and MorningStar Farms.
Innovation in Frozen Foods
"The industry together is doing a great job in making this turn around happen," said Skip Shaw, President & CEO of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). "The innovation we're seeing from our brands in both product development and packaging demonstrates success in meeting the needs of a changing consumer base and aligning frozen food offerings to their new demands."
Shaw noted that consumers are shopping differently and dining habits and traditions are changing. "There are many new frozen food brands and product lines that are now catering to a wider variety of cultures and dietary requirements," he added. " Whether someone is looking for vegan, ethnic, gluten-free, organic or antibiotic-free meat, the frozen food aisle has it all, and more."
Changing Perceptions and Stigma – Real Food…Frozen Campaign
NFRA recognized a changing and challenging food environment, as well as a more food-aware and selective consumer, and launched a contemporary communications program in 2013. The Association enlisted Edelman PR to develop relevant industry messaging platforms, as well as new and engaging ways to reach consumers. A new PR Campaign Real Food. Frozen emerged with an overall goal to spark new conversations, to change the perceptions and stigma surrounding frozen foods, and to ultimately bring more shoppers into the frozen food aisles.
'We go where the consumer is talking about food, and communicate about the benefits of frozen food," continued Shaw. "We utilize extensive social media campaigns, influencer marketing, media outreach and strategic partnerships, and collaborative industry efforts to tell the frozen food story to large audiences. The messaging is resonating for sure, particularly with Millennials."
Through its Easy Home Meals website, blog and social media platforms, NFRA's messaging focuses on real ingredients, fresh flavors, chef-inspired recipes and wholesome meal ideas. "Additionally, the industry's 'perfect preservation' flash-freeze technology is appealing to consumers today," said Shaw. "They are looking for simpler, nutrient-rich, flavorful and less engineered foods. And they are concerned about food waste. Many products in the frozen aisles today meet their criteria, and this new consumer is realizing more and more that frozen food is real food…just frozen."
* For the 52 weeks ending 03/31/18
About National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association
NFRA (NFRAweb.org) is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. NFRA sponsors national promotions March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties; and provides consumer information such as food safety guidelines, meal preparation tips, recipes and sweepstakes opportunities through its Easy Home Meals consumer website and social media properties.