Retail frozen food sales increased by £872m to over £7bn a year, making it the second fastest growing food and drink category behind only alcohol.
The BFFF’s Frozen Food Report, featuring research from Kantar Worldpanel and IGD, revealed that the growth of frozen food (13.8%) was ahead of total grocery (11.3%) and fresh and chilled (9.3%).
Driving that growth was Generation Z, who were 23% more likely to eat frozen food thanks to its convenience and growing range of vegetarian and vegan products on offer.
Commenting on the report, BFFF chief executive Richard Harrow said: “Despite the challenges of 2020, and in some cases because of them, the UK’s frozen food industry continues to be a real success story. At the onset of the pandemic we saw a huge increase in the demand for online grocery shopping, triggering shopping habits we think will remain long after lockdown lifts.
“March 2020 was a record month for online penetration, which increased by 140,000 households. Further research in October found only 26% of shoppers stated they intend to revert to pre-pandemic shopping habits, with 55% saying they will never shop in the same way again. This means, potentially, 74% of shoppers will maintain their online shopping habits long-term.”
Bigger basket spend
Harrow also noted while grocery shopping trips had declined overall, shopping trips for frozen food had increased and basket spend was higher.
“Consumers are also looking for convenient products that will not spoil between shopping trips,” he added. “This plays to the strengths of the frozen category and means we’re optimistic frozen will continue to grow its share of online purchases.”
Meanwhile, food manufacturers supplying the hospitality sector have been again overlooked for Government aid to help with the impact of COVID-19, according to the BFFF.