It’s no secret that the virus is having a tremendous impact on the nation’s health and economy. By now most industries are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis as orders to quarantine or shelter-in-place affect businesses around the country. The packaged food industry, in particular, is experiencing explosive growth as consumers rush to stores and stockpile packaged food. And one segment of the packaged food industry is seeing growth unlike any it has seen before: frozen food.
Frozen Food Market: Before The Coronavirus
According to the 2019 “Power of Frozen” report from the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and FMI (The Food Industry Association), the frozen foods market has topped $57 billion annually and has grown since 2018. What’s more, it’s reported that 99.4% of U.S. households buy frozen foods, with Millennials and Gen Z expressing more interest in the frozen segment than generations before. Frozen food is an industry that already has stable numbers and a wide audience. And those numbers are rising.
Frozen food is an industry that already has stable numbers and a wide audience. And those numbers are rising.
How The Coronavirus Is Impacting Frozen Food Sales
What is driving this growth in light of COVID-19?
Analysts from Bernstein report that the coronavirus pandemic will boost consumption of shelf-stable foods, including frozen packaged foods in the near-term. Experts say that it may be a temporary growth, but for now that growth is nonetheless real, as consumers stockpile food for a potential or already mandated quarantine, or shelter-in-place order.
Not only are consumers stockpiling foods that have a long shelf life like frozen foods, they are also being forced to cook at home more in light of restaurants closing across the United States. More cooking means more ingredients and more shopping, overall. And what that all means is more sales for the frozen food industry.
The Big Draws of Frozen Food
Frozen meals for bulking offer consumers the convenience of easy meal prep and the peace of mind that their groceries will last over an extended period of time spent indoors, at home. Many frozen foods bags today feature a reseal closure to further aid in extending shelf life. In fact, most frozen foods have a shelf life anywhere from 3 – 6 months, and even upwards of a year, depending on the product, the packaging, and the freezer. This allows consumers to eat the product that day or save it for next month, without the risk of waste.
A large number of frozen food brands also offer complete meals, snacks, and meal starters that make food prep time a whole lot easier for busy consumers. Many frozen food products are even packaged in flexible bags and pouches that allow the product to be cooked in the bag, right in the microwave.
Also, possibly no other segment offers such a wide variety on display in the frozen foods aisle. From breakfast items to snacks and appetizers, meats, vegetables, seafood, entire meal kits, and desserts, the frozen food segment really has it all. Consumers can purchase anything from single-serving meals and desserts to multiple-serving freezer-safe bags big enough to feed a family. For the consumer looking for something more specific, there are many options that are plant-based, organic, gluten-free, or have ethnic flavors. For instance, plant-based meat alternatives are a popular trend right now, with more brand options than ever before. New products inspire consumers at mealtime and offer enough variety to keep the frozen food segment interesting.
Big Opportunities Emerge
Because it is such a vast segment with countless options, there is a lot of opportunity in the frozen foods space today. As you create your frozen food line, remember that convenience and product innovation are the main drivers for growth in this space, and will be long after the surge of sales from the coronavirus have waned.
The frozen foods space has seen growth emerge in light of the coronavirus crisis, and even before that. The space offers consumers a lot of convenience and flexibility in this uncertain time. As you create your next product or line, consider meeting consumers where they are: in the freezer aisle.
Partnering with a Frozen Food Flexible Packaging Manufacturer
Whether you’re an established frozen food brand, or you’re launching a new line of frozen products, partnering with the right flexible packaging company is key. At ePac, we produce a variety of stand up and lay flat pouches, as well as rollstock for frozen food packaging. Our high-barrier films and resealable zippers, paired with our quick turnaround times and low minimum orders, make us the ideal partner for frozen food businesses. Click here to talk to one of our flexible packaging experts today.