Frozen Sales Continue to Surge in the UK

Sales of frozen food increased by GBP285m in the last three months, statistics from Kantar and the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) show. The growth in sales is currently double the one experienced in the previous 12-week period to March 22.

Frozen sales increased in value by 19.4% and volume was up 17.5% in the period from the end of March to June 14. In the previous 12-week period the value growth was 9.7% and volume 9.3%. The recent 12-week data also shows the sector outperformed the total grocery market as well as fresh and chilled food sales in both value and volume, revealing frozen food is becoming increasingly popular with shoppers.

In addition to the recent boost, the Kantar figures also reveal that long-term frozen sales are increasing. Data covering the 52 weeks from June 16, 2019 to June 14, 2020 shows that sales of frozen food reached GBP6.7bn, an increase in value of 6.1%, and that volume grew to 5.4%. In comparison sales of fresh and chilled food increased in value by 5%.

The Kantar figures show six out of nine categories of frozen food have seen a sales and volume increase over the last year, with frozen veg up 9.4% in volume and frozen pizza up 9.5% in volume. Ice cream and frozen fish sales also performed impressively, up in value by 8.9% and 8.8% respectively. Only confectionery, meat & poultry, and frozen ready meals saw small declines over 52 weeks.

These findings are supported by recently released research commissioned by BFFF members Iceland and Birds Eye. The study shows ‘value for money’ is just one of the reasons people will continue to fill their freezers post-coronavirus. The study included insights into how buying habits have changed, with Generation Z driving sales through a newly-discovered appreciation of the benefits of frozen.

The surge in sales follows a trend first reported by BFFF in April, when data revealed that in the four weeks from February 23 to  March 22, British shoppers spent an extra GBP131m on everything, from ice cream to frozen meat and poultry, as they filled up their freezers before the lockdown began on March 23. “We now know more consumers than ever have been shopping in the frozen aisle since mid-March. This is hardly surprising, given the long shelf-life, reduced food waste, value for money and variety of food on offer there,” Richard Harrow, BFFF chief executive said. “Individual retailers have reported a huge surge in frozen sales during lockdown. What’s really encouraging is that quality and innovation is attracting new younger consumers to the category as well as exciting our traditional shoppers. We are seeing lots of shoppers visiting our website for information on how to defrost, how long to keep frozen food and to find out if they can refreeze food that’s been defrosted. There are also plenty of people seeking inspiration from the recipe section. This all points to ongoing success for the frozen sector.”

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