Frozen Food in CEE: Lidl Rules the Market

In a region where convenience in food preparation and cooking is becoming an ever more pressing need, frozen food stands to perform well in coming years in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Source: Mintel

Changing lifestyles leading to greater time pressures are opening up opportunities for shortcuts in the kitchen, whilst at the same time price sensitivity remains high, suggesting strong potential for frozen options. In Poland, for example, Mintel’s research (Q1 2015) reveals that 43% of consumers say they choose easy, quick to prepare food for weekday meals. This is no surprise given that, according to Eurostat, Poles work some of the longest hours in the EU, having spent on average 42 hours per week working in 2014.

As well as Poland, Russia also has a large and growing frozen food market. In fact, for the first half of 2015, Russia has accounted for 4% of all frozen food launches in Europe, the largest share of any CEE market. Unlike some Western European markets, chilled food is also not as established in these markets. In Russia and Poland, frozen food’s share of all food launches is actually growing strongly, doubling in Poland’s case between 2011 and 2015 to date.

This is also reflected in retail sales growth: ice cream sales are up 16% in value terms over 2012-2014 in Poland; frozen processed fish sales are up 15% over the same period; and frozen ready meal sales are up 6%. However, chilled food sales are also growing. Indeed, it can be expected that in segments like...

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