Frozen Fits the Bill for the Post-COVID Consumer

By Alison Bodor, President and CEO, American Frozen Food Institute

On Tuesday, July 14, AFFI hosted a webinar with IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt to understand how retail sales for frozen food are developing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are my key takeaways from this webinar.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, frozen food category sales have held strong with double-digit sales increases and new customers. As frozen food sales continue to rise and new buyers increase, there is an opportunity for the frozen food category to inspire, add variety, and provide convenience in kitchens across the U.S.

In this new normal, there are many consumer shifts occurring at retail such as where consumers shop, how they purchase, and what they are buying. Identifying the momentum drivers for frozen food sales is key to understanding why consumer demand for frozen has increased. Here are three to keep top of mind:

  • There is a huge opportunity to continue to capture in-home eating occasions for frozen with 89% of Americans preparing meals at home.
  • The diverse selection of ingredients, side dishes and entrees in the frozen aisle can provide the much-needed comfort consumers desire. According to IRI, 31% of consumers are treating their family more than they have in the past
  • 35% of consumers take care of their physical and emotional health more now than before COVID-19. This was reflected in an increase in sales for frozen aisle products that provide holistic health and wellbeing claims for chronic illnesses and immune support.

Looking ahead, as the pandemic surge continues, consumers are likely to continue to eat more meals at home as states, cities, and counties reconsider lock-down measures. At the same time, consumers are growing weary of cooking meals at home. It’s a lot of work to cook three meals a day and is, frankly, getting boring after four months! And THIS is exactly how frozen foods can help American families – by providing inspiration, variety and convenience in the kitchen. Whether it’s frozen ingredients to make “scratch” cooking easier or whether it’s family style global entrées that provide a restaurant-style experience, frozen foods are set to meet the needs of consumers now and moving forward into the uncertain future ahead of us. Simply put, this is the Frozen Advantage.

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