The data show that households have increasingly turned to frozen food when buying groceries. Since 2019, sales have grown by 23%, and nearly three-quarters of shoppers are combining fresh and frozen groceries when making their meals at home. What is leading shoppers to rely on frozen foods? Read below to learn more about some of the top ways that frozen food products help households thanks to the frozen advantage.
Frozen Foods Are Economical Meal Solutions
As consumers look to save money and find economical food options that can still provide sound nutrition for their families, frozen foods are part of the solution.
For example, a menu modeling white paper developed in 2015 confirmed that a realistic, balanced and affordable menu featuring mostly frozen food can be consistent with energy, nutrient and cost goals based on recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), MyPlate and USDA’s Moderate Cost Food Plan. Created with the goal to align with the 2015-2020 DGA and related MyPlate guidance, this nutritionist-developed white paper sought to understand the role of frozen food within recommended nutrition and cost parameters.
The menu demonstrated that a diet of mainly (~95%) frozen foods aligns with dietary guidelines for an adult woman 19-50 years old and still falls under recommendations of an accessible, moderate cost of $59.70 for the week.
In addition, USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan recognizes the value of frozen food in helping consumers eat a diet that meets federal nutrition guidelines. This is thanks to the benefits frozen food offers in meeting cost, time and preparation needs.
Frozen Foods Have a Longer Shelf Life and Can Help Cut Down on Waste
Freezing food preserves it. The process of freezing food slows down the growth of bacteria, which causes spoilage and limits the amount of time a food is safe to be consumed. So when shoppers buy packaged frozen foods, they can be sure they’ll last longer than fresh counterparts from the grocery store and reduce the risk of waste.
One example can be found in a first-of-its-kind analysis of food waste in three major U.S. cities, which discovered that one-quarter of consumers (24%) threw away their fresh meat and fish once it passed the Use or Sell By date. With the use of frozen meat and seafood ingredients, shoppers can reduce the risk of not consuming food before the expiration date and having to throw it out. Market data show this valuable benefit in action, as frozen seafood and poultry saw the largest dollar growth in the frozen category in 2020, at 35.3% and 34.7%, respectively.
Cutting down on food waste can save a significant amount of money. One study found that the average American spends roughly $1,300 per year on food that is wasted. In addition to the expense, food waste makes up the most material in municipal landfills, creating an enormous environmental impact.
Frozen Food Helps Make Produce Consumption Easier
As families look for ways to increase their produce consumption, frozen food is an easy solution. Frozen vegetables and fruit come prepared, peeled or chopped, which provides convenience to consumers and can help the many households who may not have the time or know-how to prepare healthy meals. In addition, when consumers have various forms of fruits and vegetables available in their home, their produce intake is higher.
Not only does frozen food help to increase produce consumption, but the nutritional value remains strong. Studies conducted by the University of Georgia and UC-Davis, in partnership with the Frozen Food Foundation, both found that the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables are generally equal to their fresh counterparts. Research even revealed that – in some cases – the nutritional value is even greater than their fresh counterparts.
As frozen food grew in popularity and use during the pandemic and afterward, the advantages to families and consumers are clear. Click through to read more about the benefits of the frozen advantage and why shoppers are increasingly turning to frozen.