Millennials are blamed for the demise of several markets such as the paper napkin, the top sheet on a bed and starter homes. However, Millennials are single-handedly reviving an aisle of the grocery store that’s been cold in more ways than one: the frozen food section. Until recently, the frozen food section felt like an icy graveyard of vegetables, waffles, chicken tenders and prepared meals loaded with preservatives and unwanted ingredients. However, a thaw is taking place as manufacturers are cleaning up their labels and consumers, especially Millennials with families, are recognizing that frozen foods fit in with their time and nutrition parameters.
Even though the market is expected to reach 72.98 billion by 2024, sales in the frozen food market have been fairly stagnant until recently.1 Twenty-six percent of consumers admit to shopping in this section and in 2017, Millennials took home 9% more frozen foods than other consumer groups signifying they value the convenience offered by these products.2,3 Since frozen foods are predicted to experience a 6.15% higher CAGR between 2017-21, let’s explore what frozen food products are capturing the attention of consumers and why they like them so much.
For Millennials, frozen foods represent convenience for meals, especially breakfast and lunch. Frozen foods also help minimize waste and offer portion control. Manufacturers are appealing to Millennials appreciation for freshness by touting “flash frozen” features that position products being equal to fresh while retaining nutrition content. Frozen fruit and veggie products grew 4% between 2013-17 worldwide and “fresh” claims could be seen on nearly 20% of them.5
Trader Joe’s – One of the busiest sections in any Trader Joe’s is the frozen food aisle. Maneuvering a cart down that aisle requires the dexterity of a Formula 1 race car driver. As a matter of fact, in 2017, the top product sold at Trader Joe’s is a prepared meal in the frozen food aisle and it’s the Mandarin Orange Chicken. One of the reasons consumers love this aisle so much is the open cases making the food feel accessible as opposed to the closed-doors in a traditional grocery store.
Tommy’s Superfoods – Their mantra is “when you let the veggies do the talking they have so many wonderful things to say.” Tommy’s Superfoods doesn’t over sauce or season their veggies but marries them with unique blends that consumers find irresistible. Products like Seasoned Brussel Sprouts and Red Pepper with a bbq blend or the Seasoned Root Fusion of Fuji apples, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots topped with a sea salt and garlic blend appeal to Millennials looking to put a quick side dish on the table that is tasty, fresh and as good as scratch.
Evol – Evol began in Boulder, Colorado and boasts everything from bowls to burritos to big meals and all can be found in the freezer. Evol’s Warrior Bowl has seared beef with brown rice, edamame, carrots, broccoli & bell peppers in a miso ginger glaze while their multi-serve meals like the Chicken Tikka Masala or the Butternut Squash and Sage Ravioli serve two. Evol’s products are designed to satisfy consumers craving high protein, vegetarian, and real food. Even the brand’s name spelled backwards reflects their value of good food.
Oprah – The former Queen of Daytime talk has heated up the frozen food aisle with her new O, That’s Good! line. Expanding her brand, Mealtime Stories, which is a partnership with Kraft Heinz, Oprah’s frozen pizzas are made from a crust of 1/3 cauliflower. There are four flavors including fire roasted veggie, pepperoni, five cheese and supreme. If her pizza is as good as her ability to interview, we expect these to be a hot commodity.
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