Consumer Perception of Frozen Food Is Improving, NFRF Study Shows

frozen food

In honor of National Frozen Food Month, the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) undertook a new media analysis which revealed growth in positive frozen food content and innovation in the category.

The analysis identifies several key themes. For example, according to the data from NFRA key frozen food value messages resonated in positive earned media coverage, including convenience, lack of waste, comparable nutrition value, plus budget-friendliness. What’s more, favorable conversation around frozen food grew in 2018 as a result of buzz about new product lines, pop-culture tie-ins, and hot grocery-store offerings.

To support the industry, the NFRA launched the Real Food. Frozen campaign back in 2015 with the intent to educate the public on how frozen foods are created using real ingredients, chef-inspired recipes and fresh flavors. For their part, frozen food manufacturers are very receptive to consumer needs, with a number of wellness claims on frozen food packages increasing and driving growth in the department. Non-GMO claims were up by 10.1%, organic claims up by 9.3%, gluten-free claims up by 4.2% and free-from artificial colors/flavors up by 6.3% in 2018, compared to the previous year.

“Together with our members, we have been steadily reinforcing the frozen aisle as a destination for quality foods for every occasion, lifestyle and dietary need, and that frozen food is Real Food, just Frozen. There is so much innovation in the aisle today. Products are now aligned with new consumer dining habits and health trends, and new foods and cuisines are enticing and satisfying today’s foodies. Established brands have been freshening their lineups while innovative startups have been launching new concepts, all spurring 26% of all U.S. grocery shoppers shopping the aisle more frequently, and 43% of millennials buying more frozen items,” said Skip Shaw, President and chief executive officer of National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association.

According to the NFRA, consumers are indeed changing their perception regarding frozen food. As consumers’ eating habits are changing, they recognize the value and convenience of frozen food for every meal occasion. There was a rise in dollar sales of frozen breakfast meals (up by 8.3%), breakfast sandwiches (up by 3.9%), waffles (up by 4.9%) and breakfast sausages (up by 4.4%) in 2018, according to a cited report from Nielsen.

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