Frozen food got a big boost from the pandemic during 2020, according to new figures from the American Frozen Food Institute.
U.S. frozen food sales were up 13.3% by units and 21% in dollars in 2020 compared with 2019. The top three gains by category were in seafood (35.3%), poultry (34.7%) and appetizers (28.9%).
AFFI noted that in 2020, 39% of respondents to a poll qualified as “core frozen food shoppers,” defined as consumers who eat frozen food at least every few days. That was up from 35% in 2018. The significance is that core shoppers are likely to plan a meal with frozen components, as opposed to using frozen food as a backup.
“The frozen food aisle has been a growth driver for retailers since 2016 with acceleration ahead of most other departments,” AFFI president Alison Bodor said in a statement. “Frozen foods are a pandemic powerhouse ringing in $65.1 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 21% increase compared to a year ago.”