Signs Point to an Uptick in Frozen Foods in 2021

From wholesome fruits and veggies to snacks and complete meal solutions, consumers are turning to frozen foods now more than ever. In 2020, the frozen foods category is experiencing all-time sales highs—and it shows no signs of slowing down.

According to the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI), frozen foods will rank high on shoppers’ grocery lists in 2021. It seems frozen resonates with the times we’re living in, offering nutrition, variety, ease of preparation—and even a sense of certainty in uncertain times.

Here are five key reasons consumers are expected to continue to #QuarantineAndChill with frozen foods in 2021:

• Demand for plant-based foods continues to grow. The frozen segment has long been a gateway to plant-based foods and meat alternatives. The trend has been rising in popularity over the last decade and continues to pique consumers’ interest.. As more shoppers strive to strike a balance between animal and plant proteins, they’re exploring frozen foods’ innovative options.

What’s more, the pandemic has prompted many consumers to make a general shift towards healthier eating. In a category once dominated by frozen pizzas and other convenience foods, more shoppers are turning to frozen for nutritious options like frozen roasted brussels sprouts and carb alternatives like cauliflower rice.

• Interest in boosting immunity. Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers have become increasingly interested in boosting their immune systems and frozen foods fit the bill. From berries to bell peppers to broccoli and even mushroom blended burger patties, shoppers are seeking foods with disease-fighting properties. In addition, more emphasis is being placed on antioxidant-rich frozen foods, especially those that contain Vitamin C like spinach and squash or pineapple and mango.

• Desire for personalized nutrition. In line with the aforementioned shift towards consuming healthier foods, the new year will bring new resolutions. As we swing into 2021, consumers are likely to dial up their fitness and nutrition goals, creating a need for information and education on healthy eating. Frozen foods like fruit packs for smoothies and single-serve wholesome lunches offer consumers clear nutritional information to help them meet their needs.

• The reality of cooking fatigue. After months of home cooks favoring new flavors and tackling new techniques, fatigue is settling in. More consumers are becoming weary of complicated, time-consuming recipes and they’re also tiring of takeout. Shoppers are looking to achieve restaurant-style meals in the comfort of their homes and turning to simple, pre-prepped, or pre-cooked foods to do so. The frozen segment offers convenient ingredients, side dishes, and entrées to feed the whole family.

• Craving certainty in uncertain times. The future remains uncertain, and while it’s unlikely we’ll experience the same level of panic buying and supply chain issues we saw in spring 2020, consumers continue to turn to frozen foods. Frozen products allow them to stock up and reduce the frequency of their shopping trips. And at a time when budgets remain tight, consumers realize frozen foods are more affordable and result in less waste.