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The 30th annual March National Frozen Food Month showed an "encouraging" lift in dollar and unit sales as compared to last year, according to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), sponsor of the promotion.
“We made a concerted effort to reinvigorate the March promotion, encouraging retailers to plan early, get their supplier partnerships in place and promote Frozen Food Month in a big way,” said NFRA president and CEO Skip Shaw.
This year's campaign helped achieve a 4 percent increase in dollar sales and a 3 percent increase in unit sales over the previous year according to data from the Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen Co.
“Dollar sales grew by 1.6 percent and unit sales by only 0.4 percent through February 23 of this year,” said Todd Hale, Nielsen's SVP for consumer and shopper insights. “The March numbers show things are looking better. All but three categories drove unit growth. Only ice, frozen novelties and frozen juice didn’t show gains, but their performance was hindered by better than expected year-ago growth during our unusually warm 2012 winter."
Earlier this year, NFRA and its agency, Edelman, launched a PR program designed to change the frozen-food conversation and to let consumers know that frozen foods are "Real Food. Frozen." Since January, NFRA has enhanced its traditional, digital and social media outreach and activity and made an aggressive PR push during March Frozen Food Month.
"The Real Food. Frozen" campaign elements have included a Cool Food Panel of bloggers sharing recipes and tips on their social platforms as well as representing NFRA in various media outlets, distribution of an infographic full of “cool” frozen food facts for March and a video depicting frozen foods’ progression through the Farm to Fork story.
NFRA attributes the success of March Frozen Food Month 2013 to "the hundreds of manufacturers, retailers, sales agents and local associations who participated in the promotion" and are currently preparing their entries for the Golden Penguin Awards competition which recognizes excellence in promoting and merchandising.
All statistics are for the four weeks ending March 30 as compared to the four weeks ending March 31, 2012 for Total U.S. – All Outlets Combined plus Convenience Stores, according to Nielsen.
Harrisburg, Pa.-based NFRA is a nonprofit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. NFRA sponsors March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, the June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotion and the October Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.