“During the pandemic, a lot of people started to cook a lot more, and it was great. People learned a lot of things that they didn't know before, but now that school is starting back, lives are hectic. Parents are having to get their kids ready for school, [and] more and more people are going back to the office [and] there's less time. So, they are having to balance it all between the convenience that frozen foods offers and the value that it provides.”
The shift back to convenience, value
Leading the growth in the frozen-food segment is consumers who are still eating at home but now looking for items that take less time than preparing everything themselves, Garcia said. According to Vericast data, 44% of consumers are opting to eat at-home instead of dining out in order to save money, which is benefiting the frozen food market.
“Frozen food has steadily increased in sales over the past several years. There was a big jump obviously with the pandemic, as people began to eat at home more, and that trend of eating at home has continued.”
The global frozen food market was estimated to be worth $392.4bn in 2022 and is expected to grow by a 4.6% CAGR between 2023-2032 to reach $612.28bn, due to demand for convenient meals and advances in frozen food like individually-quick-frozen technology that improves food quality, according to Precedence Research data.
Consumers are also increasingly turning to frozen breakfast foods to speed up their morning routine, Garcia said. This year has also “seen an uptick in waffles and bagels in the last year as far as sales go,” and healthier, better-for-you options are resonating with consumers who have children, she said.
Another area of increasing interest is products with high protein, including plant-based protein products, she noted. “One thing that I think a lot of people can agree on is that protein is important, and these prepared breakfast items provide the protein that you want for your family to keep them healthy,” she added.
And when it comes to how consumers are shopping for frozen food items, they are purchasing these products in-store, and they are now making smaller grocery trips throughout the week as opposed to one big one, Garcia explained. Additionally, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and events like Super Bowl will propel growth in the space into next year, she added.
Frozen foods are also resonating with younger consumers and those with children, as certain frozen items are more popular based on the age of the child, Garcia said.
“You see a slight over index of Gen X buying more than their fair share, and a lot of that goes towards families. Parents, larger families, Gen X and especially folks raising teens, who are buying more than their fair share of frozen. So, if you think about chicken nuggets for the younger kids, think about pizza rolls, things like that for the older kids. It really does provide the value and the convenience that busy parents need.”