Frozen food sales heat up

Thanks to the success of frozen pizza, handheld breakfast food and prepared vegetables the market for frozen convenience foods will grow 2 percent by the end of the year to reach sales of $17 billion in 2010 and has the potential to increase 10 percent to $19 billion by 2015, according Packaged Facts. Overall, success in the frozen convenience category may be attributed to consumer lifestyles, Americans' growing concern with health and wellness and higher nutritional demands, demographic shifts, growing interest in world cuisines and the recession. Freshness and quality also play a key role in the market's success.

Frozen convenience sales growth was driven down during the 2005-10 period due to increased competition from fresh prepared foods, and the specific products that suffered did so because they are seen as less fresh and more expensive alternatives to cooking at home. The frozen pizza and handheld breakfast categories grew significantly when competing against restaurants and other food service outlets as they positioned themselves as low-cost alternatives to dining out, Packaged Facts points out in its "Frozen Convenience Foods in the U.S." report.

"There is considerable activity in the frozen convenience food market and ample opportunities for growth within certain retail sectors and market niches," says Dan Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "So while we do not anticipate substantial overall growth, we do expect some segments and individual marketers to grow considerably over the next five years."

Frozen food marketers are experimenting with Indian, Japanese and Middle Eastern flavors and making fusion flavors such as Mexican-style, Thai-topped and Jamaican Jerk pizzas.