THE frozen food industry could yet be hit hard by the horse meat scandal but last year it continued a pattern of growth that has been in place through much of the economic hard times.
Shoppers across Great Britain spent £5.6bn on take-home frozen food in the last year, said leading market research firm Kantar Worldpanel. That was 5.3% up on the equivalent period the year before. But Scotland isn’t quite so keen as the rest of Britain on products in the chiller.
Frozen food north of the border is now worth £496 million and up 5.1% year on year. That’s a little bit less than our share of the GB population would suggest and just behind the GB growth rate.
The average shopper makes 46 shopping trips a year to buy frozen food.
But Scottish shoppers, on average, spend £194 a year on frozen food and that works out at £20 less per household than the GB average over the year. The lower Scottish spend is evident across all the main sub-categories and Scottish shoppers buy more on promotional deals – 42% compared to a GB average of 38%.
So which frozen food products have the most appeal in Scotland? Compared to Britain as a whole, a greater proportion of Scottish shoppers buy frozen processed poultry (such as chicken nuggets) and pizzas. Some 70% of Scottish shoppers will buy frozen pizza at least once a year; across GB the figure is 66%.
• Given the popularity of price-marked packs, Birds Eye, which reports that 44% of consumers are more likely to purchase an item on impulse when it’s price-marked, has price marked its top-selling 20 lines.
“Price-marked packs in the convenience sector are now worth over £24m in value sales,” Birds Eye’s Armen Topalian said. “These packs sell faster than those that are non-marked and our top-selling PMP, 4 Original Beef Burgers, has increased in value by 36% in the last year.”
• McCain, with an eye to the health-conscious, has developed Ready Baked Jackets, a potato product with four green traffic lights. “This,” head of brand Mark Hodge said, “has helped savvy consumers to recognise the value of frozen food and reappraise their purchasing habits.”
• Last year Heinz added to its Weight Watchers brand with Heinz Big Ready Meals. Matthew Cullum, marketing controller, explained: “We launched Heinz Big Ready Meals because research identified a need for male-oriented products, no-nonsense satisfying meals.”
• Unilever argues it has identified a market gap for luxury ice cream products aimed at older consumers. Its Magnum Luxury and Carte D’Or Signature ranges will increase overall ice cream sales by appealing to older shoppers, it says.