In total, the sector grew by 0.5% in value over the period to £6.32bn versus £6.29bn during the same period in 2017-2018, Kantar statistics indicated. Frozen pizza sales rose by an impressive 7% in value and 9% in volume. This was flanked by a positive performance from frozen veg, which saw a 1.4% lift in volume and a 0.6% increase in value.
However, the figures revealed a mixed picture elsewhere, with frozen meat and poultry falling by 9.9% in value and 12% in volume.
“Pizza and veg are two of our strongest success stories for the period and have helped buoy total sector growth of 0.5%,” said Richard Harrow, chief executive of the BFFF.
“Although consumer appetite for meat-free and plant-based product is taking its toll on other categories, the powerful shift in consumer preference presents a huge opportunity for frozen and I’m confident the sector’s ability to innovate will enable it to rise to the challenge.”
Examples of successful meat-free frozen options highlighted by the BFFF included Iceland’s hugely popular vegan range. The retail chain’s head chef Neil Nugent created the products following its headline-grabbing ‘bleeding’ No Bull burger last year.
The range, which incorporates ingredients like tofu and wheat-based protein, was designed to appeal to vegans, meat-eaters and those who want to consume more plant-based food without sacrificing taste or texture.
“Convenience and value will always be important factors in shopper decision-making, but consumers are also becoming increasingly concerned with making healthy and environmentally-conscious choices,” said Harrow. “The frozen sector continues to demonstrate growth, and the ongoing development of meat-free frozen options and innovative NPD is a great example of how it can take advantage of future trends to ensure it continues.”