Chris West, channel controller at Birds Eye, speaks to betterRetailing on what convenience retailers can expect of the frozen category in 2021, and what trends it has identified this year that are here to stay for the long term.
Eight things you need to know
- The frozen market has grown by 13% in total this year, with Birds Eye having grown ahead of this figure. Frozen has also experienced the second biggest growth this year in convenience after beer, wines and spirits, demonstrating the value of this category.
- This growth can be attributed to a number of factors: more people are spending time at home – in May, there was a 35% increase in home cooking, so they are naturally stocking up on frozen meals. Meanwhile, with people more conscious about spending habits in times of financial hardship, frozen food is the optimal solution as it leads to less wastage seeing it can be put back in the freezer and having a longer sell by date.
- In a survey of 200 convenience retailers across the UK, a third cited they have dedicated more space to frozen foods in store this year, with 19% saying they are looking to invest next year.
- Frozen pizza experienced a huge surge in sales this year, with 1.7 million more consumers buying it during the first lockdown.
- Focus on core: the top 20 core products from the supplier’s frozen range account for 80% of sales in the channel, with all the products being price-marked. Three of these products are classed as value for money – fish fingers and two pizza lines, all under £1.50.
- Value for money will play a big role in shopper habits next year, so retailers need to ensure they have a permanent frozen meal deal in the same position in store to create familiarity. Top-up planned missions are the number one reason for buying frozen foods, so having a dedicated area and on-going promotion will entice shoppers to explore it.
- Retailers should look at the category from a seasonal point of view. With Veganuary coming up, focus on the Green Cuisine range; for Easter, focus on Aunt Bessie’s; for end of spring and summer, focus on burgers, sausages and pizza brands like Goodfella’s.
- Shopping online will continue to grow next year. Within grocery, more people buy frozen foods online for delivery compared to in store. This is partly due to logistical reasons, as when you order frozen to your door, you can put it straight into the freezer, as opposed to when you’re out and about.