New figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that retail frozen food sales grew by 6.1% for the 52 weeks to December 3 2017, worth an additional £64M to the sector.
The value of savoury food rose 8.8% last year, followed closely by ice cream – up 8.5%. Savoury food also saw a 7.2% rise in volume sold over the 12-month period, with confectionery up 6.7%.
Frozen vegetables and fish also recorded significant value growth of 7.2% and 6.7% respectively.
John Hyman, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), said: “The growth is in part due to the continuing premiumisation of frozen food and a growing awareness by consumers that frozen can be as good as or better quality than fresh and is often superior value.”
“Increasingly, consumers are choosing the premium products on offer in the frozen aisle to try and replicate restaurant quality food at home and this has contributed to this value milestone.”
Retail frozen food sales were worth £6bn in October last year as more consumers headed for the frozen food aisle, up 5.4%.
Kantar said the figures had risen consistently in the first three quarters of 2017, due to a focus on innovation by food manufacturers.
The frozen confectionery and frozen fish categories out-performed the sector in growth. Frozen confectionery had a 21.5% market share, an increase of 7.7%, while fish took 13.6%, up 6.9%.
‘Benefits of frozen to consumers’
Hyman added: “A lot of work has been spent communicating the benefits of frozen to consumers, with focused and innovative marketing campaigns from brands and retailers contributing significantly to the change in consumer perceptions that we’ve seen in recent years.
“Consumers are much more tuned-in to the benefits of frozen food – including waste reduction, convenience and health – and are discovering the breadth of choice in high-quality, on-trend products that are available to them with little preparation at home.”
Meanwhile, premiumisation of own-label products was one of the five key global retail trends that manufacturers can benefit from in 2018, according to grocery think tank IGD.