Record numbers warming to frozen

Quorn mince

Frozen is a category that just keeps growing with the latest figures up 6% on the previous year, so it’s one worth keeping on top of in-store.

After a period in the relative wilderness, frozen food is back in favour with customers across Scotland and the rest of the UK. The retail frozen food sector finished last year on another high, maintaining the impressive growth that saw it pass the £6bn milestone for the first time ever in 2017.

Statistics from Kantar Worldpanel for the year to December 3, 2017 show that the value of sales was up 6.1% and volume increased 2%, creating an additional £64m worth of value for the sector.

The star performing category was Savoury Food, up 8.8% in value, while Frozen Vegetables and Fish also recorded significant value growth of 7.2% and 6.7% respectively.

John Hyman, Chief Executive of the British Frozen Food Federation puts the growth down to an evolution of the perception of frozen among shoppers. He says: “The growth is in part due to the continuing premiumisation of frozen food and a growing awareness by consumers that frozen can be as good as – or better – quality than fresh and is often superior value.

“Consumers are much more tuned-in to the benefits of frozen food including waste reduction, convenience and health, and are discovering the breadth of choice in high-quality, on-trend products that are available to them with little preparation at home. Increasingly, consumers are choosing the premium products on offer in the freezer to try and replicate restaurant quality food at home, and this has contributed to this value milestone.”

The meat-free opportunity
  • Meat-free shoppers spend up to five times as much in-store as non-meat-free shoppers [Kantar / IRI, Nov 2017]
  • Meat-free is bought by almost 10.2 million shoppers [Kantar / IRI, Jan 2018]
  • 80% of category shoppers are meat reducers [Kantar 2017]

One consumer shift that is certainly helping to expand the Frozen category is the ever-increasing interest in meat-free foods, with Quorn the leading beneficiary and the number one meat-free brand. Quorn is now worth £175m, growing at 12.8% [IRI/Kantar, Jan 2018]. This is of particular interest to local retailers, as the company has launched a range of five frozen PMP products exclusively for the convenience channel.

Quorn’s core frozen range is price-marked at £2.49 and comprises Crispy Nuggets, Sausages, Burgers, Mince and Quorn Pieces.

Quorn also caters for fast-growing shopper demand for gluten-free products, offering a 21-strong gluten-free range including best-selling frozen lines such as mince, burgers and sausages.

Also helping retailers cash in on the frozen boom is McCain, the UK’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products since launching in Britain over 50 years ago.

McCain has maintained a value share at 51% and a volume share at 41% of the category, which is currently worth over £646m – showing that potato is crucial in driving footfall to the frozen aisle.

McCain merchandising tips
  • Use POS around the store to drive shoppers to the freezer
  • In the height of winter, use impulse freezers to showcase frozen best sellers
  • Make sure your frozen range offers variety and choice rather than duplication
  • Use POS to bring meal occasions to life, such as recipe ideas and enticing imagery
  • Vertical block merchandising will help shoppers see the contents of your freezers

McCain Category Controller Naomi Tinkler, says: “Tapping into new consumer groups with innovative NPD is key to brand and category growth, and it is vital that ranges are relevant to today’s shoppers by offering a variety of products that reference the latest food trends and feature interesting flavours, seasonings and cut types.

“Alongside this it’s also important for retailers to stock core range products that are firm family favourites. McCain’s price-marked packs are key to driving growth and sales for family meal times, offering a variety of Chip and Fries options that are ideal for families with young children.”

McCain’s adult-focused range continues to drive penetration in the frozen potato category by tapping into a new audience which accounts for two-thirds of consumers.

With out-of-home dining growing in popularity with one- and two-person households, McCain launched Gastro Chips and Frozen Skin-On Fries in 2017 – both of which seek to replicate the flavour and taste on offer at restaurants, for consumers to enjoy at home.