Frozen Food Enthusiasm Thaws
Frozen food first came about in the mid-1940s and quickly gained a reputation as being simple and fresh. Unlike canned produce, frozen varieties maintained their freshness from the moment they were packaged. While fruits and vegetables may have been the dominating frozen foods initially, meat, seafood and whole meals began to make refrigerated grocery aisles home. America’s love for the products grew, as buying a frozen meal required little to no cooking. However, the reign of sub-zero foods may be over. According to a report by AMG Strategic Advisors, frozen food sales have decreased by 3 percent over the course of a year. When was the last time you purchased frozen food to use for your online culinary courses?
The frozen food numbers
The report noted that some companies are seeing an increase in profit thanks to their frozen products. However, the monetary gains aren’t because of customer interest but rather thanks to price inflation. For instance, items that might have cost $3 in the past may now be a few cents more, which adds up. Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that frozen meat sales alone decreased by 3 percent to $8.92 billion between 2009 and 2013. While 3 percent may not seem like much, seeing the actual dollar amount highlights the impact lack of consumer interest can have.
Seeking fresher products
If Americans aren’t filling their grocery carts with frozen products, what are they buying instead? The AMG report pointed to fresh food. Instead of getting a bag of frozen green beans, consumers buy the fresh variety. Most grocery stores carry packaged fresh vegetables that are just as convenient as frozen alternatives. People can even purchase pre-chopped packages of vegetable medleys to use in a stir fry or sauce. In essence, the fresh market has rebranded itself as a simple and fast source for food. Such convenient and healthy options are encouraging more families to cook.
The report also revealed that consumers who don’t shop fresh are reaching for more canned food than frozen. Those who neither shop fresh nor canned are simply doing without frozen foods.
Fewer new ideas
Americans’ lack of interest in frozen foods could also be a result of companies being uninventive with their products. The report noted that frozen food manufacturers produced 22 percent fewer new products in 2011 than in 2008. Some food categories even decreased new production by 42 percent.
Frozen breakfast foods seem to be the one exception. In fact, this category has increased innovation and sales. Should companies want to replenish frozen food popularity, they may need to invent new and exciting products that can compete with fresh items.