Core consumers of frozen foods totaled 38% of all shoppers, according to research from AFFI and FMI.
Frozen foods are experiencing steady sales across the overall grocery landscape, according to new research from the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and FMI – The Food Industry Association. The organizations’ "Power of Frozen in Retail" study found that U.S. consumers find value in frozen foods as total meal solutions that save time, are easy to prepare and meet their taste expectations.
Overall, frozen food sales over the last year totaled $74.2 billion, with the segment’s core consumers – those who consume these foods daily or every few days – remaining steady at 38% of all shoppers. Older Millennials and Gen X members were the most engaged frozen food shoppers, representing all income levels and most often having kids living at home.
“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.”
The survey of 1,700 consumers also found that consumers often turn to frozen food when looking for better-for-you items. Among core consumers, 66% are more likely to believe that the frozen food department offers a wide variety of better-for-you options, and nearly three-quarters of shoppers occasionally or frequently look for those attributes when purchasing frozen foods.
“For food retailers, this report is filled with ideas on how to meet the shoppers’ evolving perception of value,” shared 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.”
Continued Stein: “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.”
As for the future, 94% of respondents said they are likely to buy the same or more frozen products in the coming months.
The full report further shares merchandising and retailing scenarios that may help spur additional trial and usage among shoppers, and also includes insights on consumer demands that can help inspire new product assortment strategies, such as packaging trends.