Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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December 2016 | | 57 Frozen Foods Growth Strategies Chill Will Here are five ways retailers can boost their frozen sales in 2017. By Jim Dudlicek S ales of frozen foods have seen better days. Overall retail sales in this $50 billion category have been tepid at best over the past three years, posting an increase of just 0.9 percent in 2015 after two years of declines, accord- ing to Nielsen data reported in Progressive Grocer's 69 th Annual Consumer Expendi- tures Study last July. Gains in products such as ice, dessert toppings and pizza buoyed a category pulled down by negative sales of mainstays like vegetables and baked goods, according to PG 's report. Consumers perceive frozen foods as unexciting, processed and less healthy than their fresh counterparts. But there are signs that retailers, through strategic partnerships with their suppliers, can turn that around. Here are five strategies that grocers should pursue to heat up sales in their frozen aisles in the coming year: 1 Market to Millennials Frozen veg- etable marketers have recently launched campaigns aimed at young adults, and research suggests that they're on the right track. "e continual parental reminder to 'eat your vegetables' stuck with Millennials and Gen Zs because they are driving the growth in fresh and frozen vegetable consumption," reports e NPD Group, noting that health-focused consumers under 40 have upped their annual per capita consumption of frozen veggies by 59 percent over the past decade. What's more, Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD forecasts consumption of frozen vegetables to increase by 3 percent through 2024. "Vegetable consumption among younger con- sumers is a reflection of their more health-conscious eating behaviors," says David Portalatin, VP and food industry analyst at NPD. "Our research shows that their attitudes about eating vegetables will not shift as they age and go through their life stages." 2 Focus on Health and Wellness Health consciousness isn't exclusive to the young, and trends toward wellness eating, along with demands for natural and organic products, have staying power. "Health and wellness is a trend that is delivering exceptional growth today, and with an aging popula- tion looking to lead healthier lifestyles as they age, along with a Millennial population that is behind many of today's better-for-you trends, it will likely continue to offer growth opportunities tomorrow, too," declares Julie Henderson, VP of communica- tions at the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). "Health-conscious consumers are a large and grow- ing segment of shoppers today, and manufacturers big and small, are taking advantage of producing products that will satisfy those shoppers' preferences." NFRA's "Real Food. Frozen" campaign, which offers marketing ideas and materials to retailers, helps "tell the story that the most versatile foods can be found in the frozen food aisle, including options for every lifestyle and every food occasion," Hen- derson explains. "Frozen foods start out the same as their fresh counterparts, from healthy produce and perfectly portioned meals to a variety of ethnic cuisines and restaurant-quality dishes." 3 Position Frozen Food as a Solution Retailers and suppliers can take the guesswork out of grocery shopping for consumers. Frozen foods start out the same as their fresh counterparts, from healthy produce and perfectly portioned meals to a variety of ethnic cuisines and restaurant- quality dishes." —Julie Henderson, NFRA

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