Sales of frozen food increased by £285m in the last three months according to the latest statistics from Kantar and the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).
The growth in sales is currently double the increase in value experienced in the previous 12-week period to 22nd March, revealing frozen food is becoming increasingly popular with shoppers.
Frozen sales increased in value by 19.4% and volume was up 17.5% in the period from the end of March to 14th June. In the previous 12-week period the value growth was 9.7% and volume 9.3%
The recent 12-week data also reveals frozen outperformed the total grocery market as well as fresh and chilled food sales in both value and volume.
The surge in sales follows a trend first reported by BFFF in April, when data revealed that in the four weeks from 23rd February to 22nd March, British shoppers spent an extra £131 million on across the frozen category. This includes sales of ice cream and frozen meat and poultry, as shoppers filled up their freezers before the lockdown began on 23rd March.
“Individual retailers have reported a huge surge in frozen sales during lockdown. What’s really encouraging is that quality and innovation is attracting new younger consumers to the category as well as exciting our traditional shoppers.”
In addition to the recent boost, Kantar figures also reveal that long-term frozen sales are increasing. Data covering the 52 weeks from 16th June 2019 to 14th June 2020 shows that sales of frozen food reached £6.7bn, an increase in value of 6.1%, and that volume grew to 5.4%. In comparison sales of fresh and chilled food increased in value by 5%.
The Kantar figures show six out of nine categories of frozen food have seen a sales and volume increase over the last year, with frozen vegetables up 9.4% in volume and frozen pizza up 9.5% in volume. Ice cream and frozen fish sales also performed impressively, up in value by 8.9% and 8.8% respectively. Only confectionery, meat & poultry, and frozen ready meals saw small declines over 52 weeks.
More than a quarter (26%) of 18-24-year-olds are buying more frozen equivalents of their regular fresh items while 40% have been stocking up on healthy frozen options including frozen vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Almost a third (31%) are trying new frozen foods such as meat substitutes, says the report.
Richard Harrow, BFFF chief executive, said: “We now know more consumers than ever have been shopping in the frozen aisle since mid-March. This is hardly surprising, given the long shelf-life, reduced food waste, value for money and variety of food on offer there.
“Individual retailers have reported a huge surge in frozen sales during lockdown. What’s really encouraging is that quality and innovation is attracting new younger consumers to the category as well as exciting our traditional shoppers.
“We are seeing lots of shoppers visiting our website for information on how to defrost, how long to keep frozen food and to find out if they can refreeze food that’s been defrosted. There are also plenty of people seeking inspiration from the recipe section. This all points to ongoing success for the frozen sector.
“This data is incredibly welcome news. Now that many more consumers have discovered the benefits of frozen food, further innovation and creativity will ensure frozen continues to be a key part of their shopping repertoire.”