Frozen meal serving size does not compute for consumers

Aug. 17, 2011
Nearly 2.5 million U.S.
Nearly 2.5 million U.S. households had a frozen meal for dinner last night but it's more than likely that the number of actual servings from the meal differed from the servings stated on the package label, according to food and beverage market research by The NPD Group.

Surveying 2,500 American adults, NPD finds that one-third of frozen meals labeled to have four plus servings are eaten by one or two individuals, and over one fourth of frozen meal consumers eat the entire package on their own even though it is labeled two to three servings, according to the report.

"There is a disconnect between the stated serving size on a frozen meal package and what an individual is consuming," says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at NPD. "As it is now, for one-quarter to one-third of frozen meal consumers, the labeled package serving size is more of a guideline to the frozen meal user than an actual serving size.

"Although many consumers disregard the servings size indicated on the frozen food package, they are concerned with portion sizes for a variety of reasons. The Frozen Meals Stay Hot! report finds that males, younger users, and even non-users are dissatisfied with the current portion sizes in frozen meals and want larger portions. Single-serve frozen meals, which account for two out of every three frozen meals eaten today, are popular as a carried lunch with young, working females and seniors who consume single-serve frozen meals in their homes.

"It's important for manufacturers and retailers to understand that various generational and demographic groups perceive frozen meals differently, and then respond to these variant needs with the right products, flavors, and marketing messages," says Seifer.

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