by Harry
Feb 13th, 2022
8 mins
BFFF

Showcase Chapter Champion
Andrew Staniland
Trading Director, Iceland Foods

This September Iceland launched 250 new frozen products in one day, in response to consumer mindsets adapting to embrace the benefits of shopping frozen.
Since the pandemic, frozen food has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially amongst young adults and families who have adapted by shopping bigger and less often and filling their freezers. This boosted Iceland’s sales by 30% and it’s been growing ever since.

Over a quarter (26%) of 18-24-year olds are now buying more frozen equivalents of their regular fresh items and almost a third (31%) are trying new frozen foods such as meat substitutes. Generation Z has been paving the way during lockdown and is making frozen fashionable again with 40% of 18-24-year olds stocking up on more healthy frozen options like vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.

But it is not just families and the younger generation turning their attention to frozen; a third (33%) of all UK shoppers are using their freezer more efficiently and a further one in five (21%) are including more frozen foods in their cooking.

When it comes to why shoppers are re-igniting their love for frozen, the cost saving potential of frozen over fresh has been a huge driving force. One in five (21%) have noticed how frozen items can be better value for money than fresh, and 17% agree they can get far more for their money by shopping frozen.

Our frozen sales have boomed over the past year or so and this has resulted in Iceland introducing its biggest-ever frozen new product development drive outside of Christmas. The frozen industry still must keep pushing on innovation if we want to be taken seriously by the consumer and one way that can be achieved is with association.
Now that shoppers are becoming savvier about the savings they can make by shopping frozen, it’s the industry’s job to keep demonstrating innovation in frozen. This will keep these new customers interested and entice even more to convert from fresh to frozen.

Having a dedicated team and a state-of-the-art development kitchen allows us to keep improving and keep innovating for Iceland own brand and for others. Here we can offer the major players a service that enters them into the frozen market. Customers love big brands and when we get brands into the Iceland development kitchen it reaps rewards for us, for the brands and most importantly for customers looking to switch to frozen.

Customers want to see new product regularly. Plotting out new and innovative products throughout the year gets customers excited and keeps them returning. Offering big brands at great prices is a sure way to do this, so when you add exclusivity on brands into the mix, it’s a great recipe for great sales.
Iceland currently has over 200 exclusive products with 20 brands and demand is like no other. The innovation with branded products starts with understanding your customer and what they like to eat, knowing the brands they already like and tapping into their eating habits such as where and when they like to eat out and how adventurous they like to be. Keeping up with the trends – the old, the new and exciting – all helps with the innovation process.

Favourite exclusive products that Iceland develops, such as with TGI Friday’s, allow customers to feel like they are taking the restaurant experience home with them at a fraction of a cost. The most recent brand we have introduced is Piccolino, a luxury Italian restaurant, which is different to our usual offering, but we have listened and understood that the demand for the ‘dine out, at home’ experience is on the up.

The new products that we’ve put in stores recently have been crucial in driving our strong growth. Being first to market with new, quality and exclusive frozen food products ultimately gives us the footfall we wouldn’t normally have.

The consumer habits embedded during lockdown, coupled with the level of innovation within frozen food, mean that we are entering a particularly exciting period within the category and I’m looking forward to seeing how Iceland, its suppliers and other retailers maximise this over the next twelve months.

Character is revealed by crisis. And in the past two years of pandemic, BFFF’s members have revealed their true characters, adapting to huge shifts in consumer behaviour and using innovative new approaches and products to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. Here are some of the most compelling stories of innovation in the age of Covid.

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