by Matt Weik
I hate to say I told you so, but I made this prediction back in early April 2019. I mentioned that more and more people are going to be walking down the frozen food aisle and grabbing some frozen food meals and well… I was right. No, I didn’t have any insider knowledge and I’m not Nostradamus, I just had a feeling that there was going to be a resurgence of people who wanted quick, easy to prepare, and convenient meals.
Is everything in the frozen food aisle healthy that is flying off of the shelf? No. But none the less, people are changing their eating behaviors even more which is making frozen food meals more appealing.
The Numbers Speak for Themselves
Yesterday, I was snooping around on the internet when I saw an article that caught my eye from a Google search. The article was on frozen food. The article published by CNN Business mentioned that frozen foods are flying out of the grocery store freezers. According to the data, it mentioned that a study over the course of 11 weeks (ending May 16, 2020) showed a 40.2% increase in frozen food consumption when compared to the prior year. The total dollar amount was a staggering $15.5 billion according to the Nielsen data.
Of the food purchased was a surge in healthy food options – not the commonly assumed TV dinners we generally think about when talking about frozen food meals. This is quite interesting. It shows that Americans are looking for healthy alternatives and are actually putting forth an effort to eat better.
Interestingly enough, the data also showed that freezer sales from the same period increased by 195%. Consumers are packing their freezers with pre-packaged frozen food meals that are low-carb, low-fat, high-protein, gluten-free, and even meatless.
Why the Shift in Behavior?
For starters, in case you have been living in a cave and have no clue what’s going on in the world, this coronavirus is sweeping across the globe not once, but multiple times. People don’t know what to do. The numbers go down and then they go back up. Therefore, people are staying home and making food rather than ordering out in an effort to protect themselves. Yet, the one place many venture out and visit each week is the supermarket and grocery store.
People seem to be stockpiling frozen food meals and anything they can to stock up and have enough food on hand in case anything else happens and more things get shut down. We’ve already experienced food shortages across different food channels and people want to be able to not have to think about how they are going to eat if certain items go out of stock or prices rise due to these shortages.
Now, this entire shift in behavior isn’t simply because of the virus we are faced with. According to FoodProcessing.com, the shift happened well before any of this took place. They reported that from what the National Frozen & Refrigerated Food Association found that “the frozen food department in grocery stores grew $918 million in the 52 weeks ending June 29, 2019, with sales totaling $54.6 billion.”
The President of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Food Association mentioned, “Frozen foods have seen strong growth over the last few years as innovative products now align with consumers’ demands for organic, plant-based, gluten-free and so much more. NFRA’s consumer PR efforts have been successfully working to tell this positive story about today’s frozen foods. It’s real food, just frozen.”
Brands Are Listening to the Consumers
Something I’m glad to see is that brands are listening to consumer wants and needs. We see brands who were never really deemed “healthy” launching health-conscious products and frozen food meals. The demand is there and more people these days are looking for healthy foods with the added convenience of cutting back on meal prep and cooking times.
One brand that has been doing extremely well who I mentioned in a previous article is Real Good Foods. They just launched frozen food meals in six different flavors. This functional food brand is crushing it and is continually innovating its space with delicious food options. If you remember, Real Good Foods first came to market with a healthy pizza option. They then moved into the ice cream space among other categories.
People want healthier options, period. And the Real Good Foods high protein frozen food meals are no exception. You can eat them whenever you wish by simply tossing one of their frozen food meals into the microwave and in a few minutes, you’re ready to sit down and eat.
Each of their frozen food meals will provide you with upwards of 19g of protein and 16g of carbohydrate – which can fit most dietary wants and needs. Best of all, none of their frozen food meals include any added sugar and are grain-free.
The next question we need to ask ourselves is, “How much are we willing to pay for the convenience of healthy frozen food meals?” Real Good Foods with their new frozen food meals will set you back $8.99 per meal. Do you consider that too high, just right, or low? I guess it depends on the individual’s financial circumstances.