Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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February 2017 | progressivegrocer.com | 61 T he frozen food case is hardly frozen in time. Staples like chicken pot pie, green peas, gar- lic bread, cheese pizza and apple pie are still there, but today's grocery freezers feature a diverse and increasing array of items geared toward consumers driven by a quest for quick, tasty meals that fit their lifestyles and interest in health, nutrition, sustainability and authenticity. As manufacturers expand product lines, and more food companies and even startups get into the frozen food business, many center store freezers are growing right along with the number of offerings. Another thing that's growing: sales across some segments of frozen foods, after a long stretch of flat or declining sales. Julie Henderson, VP of communications for the Harrisburg, Pa.-based National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) cites Nielsen data showing that total department sales for the past year ending in mid-November reached $52 billion. "Dollar sales are up 0.3 percent and unit sales are down 0.4 percent over the same period last year," she notes. Data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, show an upward trajectory for some subcategories of frozen foods. According to IRI's findings for the last 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2016, sales of frozen side dishes, breakfast foods and frozen dinners/entrées have each increased over the previous year. Other categories posted slight declines, including frozen appetizers, desserts, pies and pizza. Some of the growth — and a lot of the buzz — is coming from frozen foods that fit shoppers' penchant for natural, Ins I de: 64 Breakfast 66 Appetizers/ s nacks 68 e ntrées 72 s ide d ishes 74 d esserts Frozen, Solid Consumer demand for innovation and lifestyle-based options is revitalizing frozen food categories. By Lynn Petrak

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