by BFFF
Feb 15th, 2021
6 mins
BFFF

New Frozen Food Report highlights significant growth in frozen sector and changes in consumer shopping habits that could be here to stay.

  • Retail frozen food sales increase by £872m to over £7bn a year
  • Frozen YoY growth exceeds total grocery, and fresh and chilled
  • Consumers shopping less frequently but spending more per shop

The pandemic has changed the way we shop, perhaps permanently, and given frozen food sales a huge boost, according to a new report.

The Frozen Food Report, released today, reveals retail frozen food sales have increased by £872m, and the value of frozen food sold in the UK stores is now worth £7.21bn with a year-on-year growth of 13.8%, compared to total grocery, which grew at 11.3%, and fresh and chilled at 9.3%.

The report, produced by the British Frozen Food Federation, also found Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) are 23% more likely to eat frozen food as they are attracted by the convenience and flavour of the growing range of vegetarian and vegan products on offer.

Whilst the retail market saw massive growth last year as consumption patterns changed dramatically, the hospitality sector suffered enormously due to lockdown. But while out-of-home spending dropped by £1bn per week in 2020, takeaway sales increased by 250%, and the report highlights how foodservice businesses have embraced technology to keep going.

Commenting on the report launch, BFFF chief executive, Richard Harrow said: “It’s 10 years since we produced the first Frozen Food Report. In that time, the frozen food market has experienced impressive growth, improved quality perception and faced some of its greatest challenges.

“Since 2005 the retail market has seen a steady growth rate, achieving a 3.3% category average growth rate (CAGR) to reach a value today of £7.21bn. The market was boosted in 2020 by the pandemic lockdown, adding a massive £889m as sales moved from the foodservice market into the retail sector. Despite the challenges of 2020, and in some cases because of them, the UK’s frozen food industry continues to be a real success story.

“March 2020 was a record month for online penetration, which increased by 140,000 households, and further research in October found only 26% of shoppers stated they intend to revert to pre-pandemic shopping habits, with 55% saying they will never shop in the same way again. This means, potentially, 74% of shoppers will maintain their online shopping habits long-term.

“Another change in consumer behaviour is the frequency of shopping trips has declined overall, but increased for frozen, and basket spend is higher. Consumers are also looking for convenient products that will not spoil between shopping trips. This plays to the strengths of the frozen category and means we’re optimistic frozen will continue to grow its share of online purchases.”

The report, sponsored by NewCold, brings together research from leading names including Kantar Worldpanel and IGD to give a full picture of the market for frozen food. It has been produced by the BFFF Young Leaders Forum, with input from BFFF members, and features opinions and market predictions from industry leaders, including foodservice consultant Peter Backman, founder of FutureFoodservice.com Simon Stenning, and director of the British Plastics Federation Barry Turner.

Copies of the Frozen Food Report are available here: https://bfff.co.uk/the-frozen-food-report-2021/ 

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