This month has been dominated by Easter treats, but retailers will already be gearing up for the next ‘event’ the summer BBQ season. With that comes a renewed focus on the ice cream aisle, (although this is a market that is minimising seasonality with year-round snack appeal), and a willingness to look for increased convenience to minimise the time spent in the kitchen away, from the sun.
Last year the value of the frozen food market showed 4.8% value growth year-on-year (*1) and we have witnessed a gradual, but clear trend towards the premiumisation of frozen food; a market that frozen food specialists such as Iceland and Cook, as well as the big four multiples, are keen to exploit. Waitrose too is investing in premium frozen, with a ‘five star’ range of premium frozen meals. They’ve tried before, but the problem persists that many consumers still perceive frozen as somehow inferior in quality to fresh and view their freezer as a storage vessel for peas, chips, chicken nuggets and the odd pizza or ‘emergency’ ready meal. Successful NPD can shift these perceptions. Just this month we’ve seen a couple of popular frozen entries – twists on old favourites in the ice cream and meal accompaniment sectors. Iceland’s Hash Brown Fries were very popular and were considered the ideal freezer standby.
Any innovation will have to be supported by continued education and marketing about the quality of frozen fish, the nutritional benefits of freezing and its role in reducing food waste.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen a number of new dairy and gluten free products enter the market this month. 4 in 10 adults now regularly buy free from food and drink (*2), but many of the Free From foods we test fail to match their standard equivalent. Not so Cathedral City’s Lactose Free Mature Cheese which tasted ‘as good as normal’.
*2: Mintel Free From Foods Report Dec 2017