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Frozen Foods in the U.S.: Hot Meals, Sides, and Snacks

  • December 2014
  • -
  • Packaged Facts
  • -
  • 118 pages

Summary

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Although freezing has been used for thousands of years as a method for preserving food, the modern technology for food preservation through freezing was only developed less than 100 years ago. Frozen food sales progressed slowly for the first few decades of their existence but in the 1950s, as home refrigeration took off, sales of frozen picked up rapidly. A key factor was the introduction of complete meals in the form popularly known as TV dinners.

In the last few years sales of frozen foods have hit a wall as a result of a growing demand from consumers for fresh foods, perceived as being healthier than frozens. This is true for all four of the frozen food categories covered in the new Packaged Facts report, Frozen Foods in the U.S.: Hot Meals, Sides, and Appetizers/Snacks. The categories are frozen dinners/entrees, frozen pizza, frozen side dishes, and frozen appetizers/snacks.

While frozen foods might have survived this trend with little damage to sales because of their convenience and relatively lower prices, retail groceries have dealt a them a second blow. Retailers have invested in promoting ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat meals created fresh daily in their stores and easily accessible to consumers though enhanced ordering, pick-up and delivery services.

The latter leverage digital media and especially the use of mobile device by most all consumers. Added to this, foodservice operators are also increasing their use of digital media to provide consumers with greater convenience. Both sources are beating frozen foods at their own game, with foods that require even less time and effort to prepare than traditional frozen products. In order to fight back, frozen food marketers are working to provide customers with more variety and lower prices. They are also looking to offer more natural and organic products that consumers products can identify as healthy.

Despite the efforts, Packaged Facts estimates the overall sales of the products in the four categories covered were just over $22 billion in 2013, down by about 1% from 2012. Sales in 2012 were also down by one percent from 2011. Looking forward, Packaged Facts estimates that the categories under consideration will be essentially flat for 2014 but collectively enjoy a small but steady increase through 2018 at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.07% to top $23 billion that year.

Scope and Methodology

Frozen Foods in the U.S.: Hot Meals, Sides, and Appetizers/Snacks covers frozen food products sold through all types of retail outlets, including supermarkets, discount stores and supercenters, warehouse clubs, and mass merchandisers, as well as convenience stores, drugstores, health and natural food stores, dollar stores, farms and farmers markets.

Market estimates within this report were based on both public and syndicated data sources. Packaged Facts has analyzed available sales and trend data, together with information pertaining to those products that move through unmonitored outlets, to estimate the total size of the market for the products in the categories under consideration.

Sales and market size data sources include:
IRI sales tracking through U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores, drugstores, and mass merchandisers (including Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart) with annual sales of $2 million or more.
U.S. Census Bureau retail food sales data from the Economic Census surveys, annual retail channel sales, non-employer statistics.
U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis annual estimates for consumer spending by food type
Major food and beverage retailer annual reports for individual retailer sales
Publicly available data from other industry sources including trade associations such as the Frozen Foods Institute and print and online publications such as Food Navigator.com.
Packaged Facts also draws on a proprietary Packaged Facts national online consumer survey conducted in July/August 2014.

Information on new product introductions was derived from examination of the retail milieu and from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature and annual reports.

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ref:plp2014

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