According to the American Frozen Food Institute and FMI-the Food Industry Association’s Power of Frozen Report​ released Feb. 18, dollar sales of frozen food increased 21% in 2020 and units increased 13.3%, resulting in a 19.4% increase in spending per buyer.

“With elevated focus on shelf-life and many more meals at home, frozen food was one of the big winners across grocery departments”​ in 2020 and during the pandemic, the report notes.

The categories gains were immediate after the coronavirus’ initial outbreak with frozen food sales nearly doubling in mid- and late-March and continuing to track in subsequent months 30%-40% ahead of the same time a year ago, according to the report. And while sales have slowly tapered to around 15%-20% above 2019 levels, the report adds that they are continuing well ahead of most other categories.

The lift in sales of frozen products was across all categories, but according to the report, seafood, novelties, pizza, breakfast food, processed poultry, appetizers and potatoes/onions also increased their share of total department sales.

Not only did sales of frozen increase, but the number of consumers purchasing frozen food also increased, according to the report, which found: “Amid the pandemic, the share of core frozen food consumers, defined as those who consume frozen food daily or every few days, rose from 35% in 2018 to 39% in 2020.”

While the main attraction of frozen appears to be its long-shelf life, as illustrated by 83% of frozen food shoppers seeking the items “as a back up solution,”​ the report found consumers also valued frozen for its ease of preparation, as a quick total meal solution and time savings.

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