Sep 25th, 2020
7 mins

New buying habits look set to stay as report shows that switching to frozen can save families up to £1,500 per year and almost halve levels of food waste.

A new study commissioned by Birds Eye and Iceland indicates the acceleration of frozen food’s revival during the UK lockdown is set to continue and create long-term changes in shopping habits.

More shoppers than ever have been drawn to the category since mid-March. The results of the exclusive study highlight ‘value for money’ and ‘reduction of food waste’ as two main reasons the popularity of the sector will continue.

The study also includes insights into how habits have changed, with the freezer becoming a firm favourite with younger shoppers.

It seems generation Z has been paving the way during lockdown, making frozen fashionable again. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of 18-24-year olds are buying more frozen equivalents of their regular fresh items while 40 per cent have been stocking up on healthy frozen options including frozen vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Almost a third (31 per cent) are trying new frozen foods such as meat substitutes.

As attitudes towards food continue to develop, and people spend more time in the kitchen cooking from scratch, a third (33 per cent) of all UK shoppers are using their freezer more efficiently with a further one in five (21 per cent) including more frozen foods in their cooking.

The stats indicate this could be a long-term trend as almost a quarter (24 per cent) plan to continue buying more frozen food after lockdown.

The cost saving potential was highlighted as a key benefit frozen food has over fresh alternatives, with 17 per cent agreeing they can get far more for their money by shopping frozen.

New data from a previously unreleased study by Manchester Metropolitan University, which analysed the financial impact of families eating fresh and frozen food, found frozen offers around a 30 per cent saving in comparison to fresh. For an average family this equates to a huge saving of £1,500 a year by incorporating more frozen food into their food shops. With over a third (34 per cent) of shoppers planning to tighten their purse strings when it comes to food shopping after lockdown, frozen food is set to be a regular fixture on the nation’s shopping lists.

Further research commissioned by Birds Eye and Iceland before lockdown took a closer look into consumer shopping habits and found more than £188 million worth of food was wasted nationwide each week. For every £1 spent at the till, more than 15p worth is wasted due to the amount of fresh food thrown away. 85 per cent of consumers expressed a desire to reduce their household food waste, but a quarter of those admitted the don’t know where to start.

But it seems lockdown has given shoppers time to reflect, with 47 per cent of those polled revealing they are far more conscious of the food their household is wasting since March, with the figure rising to more than half (54 per cent) among 18 – 24-year olds.

Steve Challouma, general manager UK at Birds Eye said: “It’s clear that whilst lockdown has brought many different challenges, new frozen shopping habits have emerged to help us save money and reduce food waste, whilst still enabling us to enjoy great quality and delicious food. The research also shows that many of us are making healthy food choices and adding more goodness to our diet – with shoppers actively buying more frozen vegetables.

“We’re excited to see shoppers discovering the many benefits frozen food including the interesting and tasty products on offer, and how they can be enjoyed on their own or used in creating delicious recipes. As households become even more conscious of their spending, we expect this behaviour to continue.”



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