Frozen Finger Food: More than Just a Category

Frozen food had a lot to gain from an otherwise uneasy situation, as the COVID-19 pandemic made consumers turn to eat at home. One of the most popular segments remained that of finger food, albeit adapted to new, healthier preferences.

Frozen finger food has been a best-seller for a long time, but the new consumption habits developed since the beginning of 2020 might just show a fundamental change in terms of what shoppers buy when they visit a store, as revealed in the autumn edition of the Frozen Food Dossier, available here. Figures are already showing that customers start leaning towards frozen: in the UK, for example, sales of frozen food have continued to surge and increased by GBP221m in the last three months (to the week ending September 6), according to the latest statistics from Kantar and the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF). The growth in sales follows an increase of GBP285m in the previous 12-week period from the end of March to June 14, indicating that the popularity of frozen food has continued to grow despite the easing of lockdown restrictions. The Kantar figures also reveal long-term frozen sales are increasing. Data covering the 52 weeks from September 9, 2019, to September 6, 2020, shows sales of frozen food reached GBP6.9bn, an increase of 9.7% in value, and that volume grew to 8.4%. In comparison, sales of fresh and chilled food increased in value by 7%. “We know that since mid-March, more consumers than ever have been shopping in the frozen aisle. This is hardly surprising, given the long shelf-life, reduced food waste, value for money, and a variety of food on offer there. These latest figures indicate this may be a long-term trend”, Richard Harrow, BFFF chief executive said.

Catering to every taste

Despite the impact of COVID-19 and the global lockdown, the Frostkrone Food Group can report a positive balance for the third quarter of 2020, according to Frédéric Dervieux, CEO of Frostkrone Food Group. “Our sales figures are very stable, indeed they are even rising, and the order situation continues to be very good. We are in the comfortable position of operating from several locations worldwide and supplying our goods to the trade and foodservice sector at an international level. Of course, this is, at the same time, a challenging position to be in. Our customers have got to know and appreciate us as a reliable and very flexible partner and they are always pleased to take us on board when it comes to developing and producing new product ideas.” For all these reasons, Dervieux is optimistic that the company will be able to preserve and continue the good results of the last few years into the coming year. “We are currently engaging in initial discussions with our customers and clients regarding plans for 2021. This year is a little different as many of our appointments are carried out as digital meetings.” Frostkrone’s bestsellers, such as Chilli Cheese Nuggets and Jalapeňo Snacks were particularly in great demand at the beginning of the year. Through the lockdown, the company experienced less impulse buying. On the contrary, stockpiling seemed to be the order of the day. As for new developments, these closely follow the up-to-the-minute lifestyle of the young, dynamic and professional target group, a clientele that is permanently on the lookout for a new hedonistic culinary experience and also for variety, Dervieux explains.

„As far as we are concerned, the sky’s the limit when it comes to raw materials and also when it comes to ideas. We are constantly in the process of developing and refining our skills and ideas further. For us, the bedrock of all this has always been and still is quality. That applies to the raw materials and their handling and similarly to the subsequent preparation of the food at the customer’s home.” Everything has simply got to be just right when it comes to deep-frozen finger food and snacks, he says, as consumers tolerate no compromises here. The company relies on long-term supply relationships and performs both internal and external auditing, thus remaining vigilant. Before the market launch, all products are also tested to double-check their handling, i.e. to ascertain whether there might be any issues in their final preparation. And the reason, Dervieux adds, is this: the promise that the product makes about quality and taste has to be kept, otherwise the consumer will decide to buy the competitor’s product the next time around. Frostkrone’s new free-from range called “GreenDate” has just been launched. “The idea behind the concept is this: ingredients that you can see and taste – and that are as natural as they are delicious. A complete vegetable garden just waiting to seduce your taste buds. All the GreenDate products are gluten-free and also free of all preservatives and flavor enhancers. They are not pre-fried, either. And they are on offer with a coating or in the naked version,” comments Dervieux. Speaking of ‘free-from’, this is a rapidly growing trend, which the company wanted people to experience differently through snacks. “This was how the idea was born, the vision of developing products that offer something special, instead of just being an alternative to meat. Six different types of snacks have now been created, which are available in various shapes and sizes, e.g. as mini cakes, croquettes, balls, or burgers. And there is something in the range for every kind of taste, guaranteed. Thanks to the tiger nut,
which we use as a recipe basis, the GreenDate snacks are not only rich in nutrients but they also boast the high ‘crunch’ factor. Since the tiger nut is a tuber, it is free of allergens and also gluten-free and lactose-free,” Dervieux concludes.

To read the entire article please access your complimentary copy of the Frozen Food Dossier by clicking here.