Frozen food demand will continue beyond the pandemic, suggests survey
A consumer study, commissioned by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), has found that the surge in demand for frozen food is due to returning buyers as well as first-time buyers.
While frozen foods have seen a surge in sales since the coronavirus pandemic began, new data has suggested that this demand will continue beyond the crisis.
The new consumer survey “Frozen Food Sales Amid COVID-19” – commissioned by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and conducted by 210 Analytics, LLC – found that, in recent weeks, the category has earned new customers, seen returning buyers, delivered high satisfaction and provoked desire amongst consumers to continue purchasing throughout the year.
Among the report’s findings:
- Sales continue to hold strong. After a 94 percent surge in mid-March, overall frozen food sales are holding at 30 – 35 percent increases in April 2020 compared to a year ago
- The vast majority of Americans are buying frozen food. 86 percent of all consumers have bought frozen items, such as frozen pizza, vegetables and entrees, since early March. “This includes an equal share of frequent frozen food buyers, as well as consumers who don’t consider themselves regular purchasers,” said 210 Analytics’ Principal and Founder, Anne-Marie Roerink
- The category has added new customers. Seven percent of consumers who previously, rarely or never purchased frozen foods pre-pandemic are now buying. “This is a tremendous expansion of the category that could have long-term implications,” Roerink said. “This includes Gen Z buyers, as well as Baby Boomers who left the category during the TV dinner era – returning now to find newer, tastier products”
- Loyal customers are buying more and trying new. In addition to new feet down the aisle, current consumers are changing up frozen buying behaviours: 70 percent are buying more than usual and 68 percent are trying new brands and products
- Satisfaction is high. On a five-point scale where five is excellent, convenience received the highest ranking at 4.3, and quality was second, at 4.1
- Buyers will come back. 50 percent of consumers who have purchased frozen foods since COVID-19’s onset said they will purchase a lot more (18 percent) or somewhat more (32 percent) in the next few months.
“This study suggests frozen will remain a category heavyweight for months and years ahead as the category attracts new and returning customers who are relying on a variety of frozen foods to provide much-needed convenience and satisfaction,” said AFFI President and CEO, Alison Bodor.