The Frozen Food Report released by the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) shows that retail frozen food sales have grown by 13.5%, compared to pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that consumers have truly fallen back in love with their freezers.
The report reveals that despite restaurants, cafes and pubs opening back up in April 2021 following over 12 months of restrictions, frozen sales have maintained their momentum. The return to eating out has led to less frequent shops and smaller shopping baskets which has seen the year-on-year value growth of the frozen food market slow to 1.2%, according to the report.
“After two years of disruption, the retail market is returning to pre-pandemic normal, but frozen has attracted over 400,000 more shoppers in the last two years. The retail frozen food market is now worth GBP7.1bn and has added nearly GBP850m worth of sales since 2019 that’s value growth of +13.5% and volume growth of +9.2%. With the total grocery market broadly flat, frozen sales have significantly outperformed the market. Last year was another turbulent year for everyone in FMCG. With foodservice outlets opening back up in April, it would have been overly optimistic to assume the same success that we saw in 2020. However, when you look at the market compared to 2019, we have seen incredible growth. While consumers may have looked to frozen out of necessity in 2020, they have come back through choice in 2021,” BFFF chief executive Richard Harrow said.
According to Kantar ice cream is the largest single category in frozen, worth GBP1.3bn to retailers and accounting for 18.6% of their overall frozen food sales, up from 17.3% in 2019. Frozen fish broke through the GBP1bn barrier in 2020 and 2021’s sales represent a 16.4% (GBP141.2m) gain in just two years. However, lifestyle changes are driving meat free innovation. Vegan and vegetarian products have achieved 16.8% growth since 2019, contributing to a GBP237.4m (19.8%) growth in sales of savoury foods in the same period, BFFF adds.