‘Occasional indulgence’ sees frozen food soar in UK

Ice cream

The frozen food retail market has once again seen value and volume growth in the 52 weeks to March 27, 2017 including growth across almost every sub-category. According to the latest statistics from Kantar Worldpanel, sales of frozen food in retail grew by 1.3% in value year on year (yoy) with the sector now valued at £5.77bn.

The ice cream and frozen confectionery categories were the stars of the show for the fifth consecutive quarter with yoy value growth of 4% and 11% respectively, accompanied by respective yoy volume growth of 2.9% and 7.1%.

These sub-categories – now valued at £1.22bn – represent more than 21% of the total frozen food retail market. In part, frozen confectionery is being driven by increasing demand for frozen fruit which saw a sales growth of over 35%.

A drive for healthy eating has also led to other sub-categories seeing growth with vegetables seeing value growth of 3.3% and volume growth of 3.3% yoy.

This is driven by the growth in popularity of frozen sweet potato which saw sales increase by 119% in 2016.

John Hyman, Chief Executive of British Frozen Food Federation, said: “As consumers are increasingly concerned about healthy choices, many treat categories are struggling to see real growth, frozen seems to be bucking this trend and that’s partly down to how the category has positioned its sweet products.

“By owning the occasional indulgence occasion through significant, premium NPD across the board, frozen confectionery and ice cream categories have managed to maintain their appeal to consumers still looking for life’s little luxuries.

“Similarly, this trend has enabled frozen to expand into new meal occasions and widen its appeal to new groups of consumers with a wide range of prepared fruit and vegetable options to offering healthier choices.”