Just about this time last year we asked the question “Are We Entering a Frozen Food Renaissance?” because a wave of startups were transforming frozen foods from just bags of peas and TV dinners into something more high-end and healthy.
Looks like people are paying attention to this renaissance and ponying up for frozen food. According to a recent study from NPD, frozen foods were a part of “9.8 billion eating occasions in home, up 2 percent from a decade ago.” Two percent may not sound like much over ten years, but as NPD points out, that translates into billions of meals, and we would like to point out that can mean billions of dollars.
And in a welcome turn of events, frozen foods appear to be something millennials are not killing off, but rather, reviving. From the NPD press release:
“Demographic shifts, like Millennials moving into the busiest times of their lives juggling spouses, kids, and a career, are fueling a greater need for the convenience that frozen foods offer,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Manufacturers are also doing their part in increasing interest in frozen foods by innovating around contemporary food values and emerging flavor trends to provide convenience.”
We’ve seen that innovation in frozen food firsthand from companies like Mealhero, which ships pre-packaged frozen food and connected steam cooker to automatically prepare them. Buttermilk sends pre-made Indian food that can be frozen and reheated in the microwave. Daily Harvest goes after millennials directly with its delivery of frozen smoothies and bowls. And companies like Stouffers are creating entire frozen meal kits.
As NPD also points out, more than 80 percent of meals and eating happens in the home, and U.S. consumers are turning to things like frozen vegetables and chicken for cooking convenience at dinnertime. Breakfast is another growing category, thanks to things like frozen waffles and breakfast sandwiches.
With this growth, it looks like frozen food might be moving from a renaissance into a golden age.