“It’s not just the planet that’s heating up,” said a report prepared by the Daniel J. Edelman Global Food and beverage Sector 2016. “In the wake of the Sriracha phenomenon, spice continues to intensify across the spectrum of food and beverages.”
A spokesperson from Edelman told FoodNavigator-USA that this trend is apparent in the frozen food sector as well, and new frozen products this year include wasabi peas, sweet chili carrots, and sriracha chicken.
March is frozen food awareness month
Thirty-three years ago, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) designated the month of March as the National March Frozen Food Month, inviting the industry to increase awareness and education to consumers about frozen food.
The NFRA released an info sheet containing campaign messages with ideas on how to promote frozen food. “Frozen foods start out the same as their fresh counterparts, coming from the earth and sea,” said one of the messages.
Part of the association’s promotion this year is a CBS media partnership, where CBS local radio, web, and social media outlets will share frozen food recipes, content, and stories, and social media efforts will be branded with the hashtag #EasyHomeMeals.
A case for frozen fruits and veggies
Though getting rid of the sad, frozen, mid-century TV-dinner image may be hard, trends show an increased interest in frozen foods, especially for portion control and fruits and veggies.
“Veggies continue to come to the forefront in frozen food meals, replacing both carbs and meat options in recipes,” the Edelman spokesperson said, citing a report conducted by Nielsen and Todd Hale for the NFRA. “Nearly 30% of people who eat meat alternatives like to have meat-free days, like ‘Meatless Mondays.’”
According to the NFRA, marketers can use the message that “freezing is the best method for preserving food—[it] preserves food at the peak of freshness, from the moment they’re harvested or procured,” to promote frozen fruits and veggies.
Another top priority of consumers that market analysts have reported is awareness of waste. “80% of people said they’re very concerned about reducing food waste to help cut costs,” the Edelman spokesperson said. “Clearly top of mind, we’ll see more new frozen fruits and vegetable products with longer staying power than fresh.”
Reflecting this trend is an emergence of fruit and veggies blends for 'ready-to-go' smoothies.