The recent change in consumption habits has created a context within which consumers have re-evaluated their relationship with the freezer. There has been an increase in household penetration and adoption of frozen foods, which is creating a fundamental reappraisal and a unique platform for continued growth. The resilience of frozen food has been reinforced as consumers have sought the familiar, the trust and psychological safety of many of the brands and staple foods that the category offers. In addition, consumers have broadened and deepened their usage – for example the number of lunch occasions using frozen has massively increased.
But how best as an industry can we take advantage and double down on this reappraisal and increased trial of the category?
Firstly, it’s about getting the basics right. With the huge surge in purchase in e-commerce and engagement in digital media, for example, there are several steps manufacturers can take to be prepared for the future commercial landscape. Organisation reappraisal is key – are the right resources and investments in the organisation directed to the new consumer and channel reality? Is there the right level of support and talent in the e-commerce team, for example, or digital marketing team – and are you working with the best possible external partners?
From an e-commerce perspective, applying the same rigour to category management as you do instore is critical through the ‘brilliant basics’; ensuring the right descriptors, layout and taxonomy of your range, and optimising product content to drive visibility through organic search and navigation. With more people staying at and eating at home, there has been a surge in consumers looking for ideas and inspiration from brands. At Birds Eye, we’ve seen a 28% increase in website traffic, with the demand for recipe ideas and tips on frozen being a key driver. Making sure your website content is up to date, easy to navigate and accessible is critical in order to make the consumer journey enjoyable and seamless.
It’s also important to re-appraise the role of different media within the communications mix. The category has attracted a younger audience during lockdown, and we need to be conscious that this demographic has a different media preference to the older consumers who have traditionally bought into frozen, mainly in digital channels. These channels offer greater flexibility for brands and the barriers to entry are lower.
Once these foundations are in place, you have the platform to get creative and imaginative on how to inspire consumers and deploy the broad arsenal of technological tools to target them and persuade them to come back. Within e-commerce the possibilities are broad given the lack of physical barriers encountered instore. Tactics such as brand partnerships which drive cross sell from other high penetration categories; engaging shoppers through recipe videos and using online specific targeting methods such as couponing can all play a role in retaining consumers and stimulating repeat purchase.
The landscape is evolving and will continue to do so – keeping in check and adapting your resources and plans accordingly is critical if we want to continue the resurgence of the frozen food category.
Take a look at Steve Challoumas latest Webinar Wednesday with the BFFF where he dives deeper into the online channel for Frozen during COVID 19 – Watch