Frozen food sector continues to thrive in cash-strapped times, data reveals

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Sales of frozen food continue to rise, despite difficult economic circumstances, and achieved 6% value growth for the year to 10 June 2012. 

The Kantar Worldpanel data shows the category has expanded its value in all product sectors year-on-year. This is particularly clear in the case of meat and poultry, which has grown 13% in value and 6% in volume, as consumers continue to realise the financial and nutritional benefits of frozen meats. 

Brian Young, director general of British Frozen Food Federation, said: “Despite the UK entering a double-dip recession in the second quarter of 2012, the frozen food sector is continuing to thrive.  

“As frozen food manufacturers continue to invest in premium NPD, the value of the industry is continuing to grow despite economic instability. This is demonstrated in the ice cream category which, despite a 4.5% volume drop caused by bad weather, has seen a 4.4% value growth as consumers opt for luxury products.” 

A particularly strong area of growth is in the potato products category, which has seen 9.9% value growth in the last two quarters. Young said: “Recent NPD innovations from leading brands, such as McCain with its ready baked potatoes, are leading growth in the market.” 

Other success stories include fish and vegetables, which have experienced continued steady growth in value over the last two years, with respective growth at 3.4% and 7.8% year-on-year in the 52 weeks to 10 June 2012. 

Pizza continues to be the product sector which is excelling in the face of the recession with both value 5.9% and volume 2% growth in the last six consecutive quarters. 

There is similar good news for ready meal manufacturers with value growth of 4.2%.

Young said: “As consumers continue to appreciate the benefits of frozen foods in terms of nutritional and great value, I predict that the frozen market will continue to grow over the coming months as people try to make their money go further. The challenge to manufacturers is to maintain their focus on premium NPD to guarantee continued growth once consumers start to feel more confident about their disposable cash.”