Why Frozen Foods Will Trend Up in 2021

Arlington, Va. – What will be among the hottest food items on grocery lists in the year ahead? Think frozen foods.

From fruits and snacks to entire meal solutions, the frozen food category is experiencing all-time sales highs over the past year. Consumer research indicates this momentum will continue even after the pandemic subsides.

“Strong sales data only tells part of the story,” said American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) President and CEO Alison Bodor. “Frozen foods align with the times we’re living in, offering consumers nutrition, variety, ease of preparation and certainty at a moment we’re needing it more than ever in our kitchens and on our tables.”

AFFI details five key reasons frozen foods will be on 2021 trend lists and shopping lists:

  • They meet the growing demand[1] for plant-based foods. For decades, frozen has been the gateway to plant-based foods and alternative meat. Think veggie burgers. With the plant-based trend on the rise among vegetarians, flexitarians and all consumers, frozen’s innovative plant-based product offerings provide a plethora of on-trend options for those all-in or just dipping their forks into the movement.
  • They check the box for immunity-boosting foods. Consumers will continue seeking foods that feed their immune systems[2], and the frozen aisle is filled with what’s on their lists, from berries and salmon to spinach, broccoli and mushroom blended burger patties.
  • Frozen fits the growing demand[3] for personalized nutrition. A new year will likely mean consumers are downloading personal nutrition planners and dialing up daily fitness/meal planning subscriptions. Whether it’s fruit packs for smoothies or single-serve healthy and light lunches, frozen features a variety of single-serve items with clear nutritional information to help consumers meet their personal nutrition needs.
  • They beat back cooking fatigue. After months of home cooks trying and sampling new foods, and with winter coming, research[4] finds cooking fatigue is settling in. Frozen foods help home chefs by providing simple, pre-prepped or cooked ingredients, side dishes and entrées that feed the whole family and deliver quality time together.
  • Frozen staples offer certainty during uncertain times. While it’s unlikely we’ll see panic buying and grocery supply issues at the same level as spring 2020, the future is uncertain. Frozen foods let shoppers stock up on an array of healthy and easy-to-prepare foods, and reduce the frequency of their shopping trips.

About AFFI

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) is the member-driven national trade association that advances the interests of all segments of the frozen food and beverage industry. AFFI works to advance food safety and advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf to create an environment where members’ foods and beverages are proudly chosen to meet the needs of a changing world.


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[1] “We Are What We Eat: A Look at Food in the New Normal,” Consumer study conducted by Hearst and GlobalWebIndex, April – June 2020

[2]Immunity Boosting Food Products Market Global Report, July 2020,” The Business Research Company

[3]2019 Global Wellness Trends Report,” Global Wellness Summit

[4] Survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sun Basket, Aug. 2020

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