Budget-conscious families continue to chose frozen meat, poultry and potato products – as well as the odd treat.
ICE cream is the star performer in a frozen food market that grew 2.1% over the last year. According to industry body, the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), the frozen food sector is now worth almost £5.75bn.
The BFFF claims ice cream outshone the rest of the retail market, growing 4.2% by volume and 7.2% by value. That reflects the continuing trend towards premium products and treats for big nights in, it says.
Frozen meat and poultry also did well while frozen potato products (up 7.7% by value) and frozen savoury food (up 2.5%) benefited from NPD such as ready-baked potatoes and ready-to-roll pastry.
The frozen ready meals sector appears to be recovering from the horsemeat scandal, with decline slowing down compared to last year.
Brian Young, director general of the BFFF, said: “It is encouraging to see the frozen food industry continue to grow in face of a struggling retail industry.
“Clearly, consumers are continuing to realise the financial, nutritional and environmental benefits of using frozen products.”
Mr Young added: “With inflation at its lowest level since July 2010, the industry faces a new challenge: to continue to encourage consumers to choose frozen and avoid reverting to old habits.
“By investing in good quality NPD and offering premium options, leading frozen retailers and brands can continue to attract consumers to the freezer aisle despite this expected easing of the pressures on tight household budgets.”