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    The frozen category continues to branch out, in response to consumer trends

    • New varieties and brands of frozen soups have hit the market, mirroring the trend for restaurant-quality frozen food with natural and wholesome ingredients. Kirkland, Wash.-based Fortun Foods, for example, recently introduced a line of Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces and gourmet soups, all items vacuum-packaged in plastic bags and sealed while still fresh.
    • Meanwhile, seeking to meet the never-ending quest for quality and convenience, manufacturers are pairing soups and sandwiches in the frozen food aisle. Carson, Calif.-based Cedarlane Foods now offers CedarLEAN soup-and-wrap combination entrees, while Stouffer’s, a division of Solon, Ohio-based Nestlé USA, has done well with its Corner Bistro stuffed melt-and-soup combos.
    • One subcategory to watch is frozen baby food. Sales of frozen baby food, like the lines from HappyBaby and Bella Baby, both based in New York, have risen sharply, and retailers are making room on their freezer shelves for such products as alternatives to jarred baby food. A 2012 report on frozen food from Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts found that frozen baby food had the highest rate of growth, percentage wise, in the overall frozen food category. Notoriously picky toddlers are also in the sights of frozen food companies: A San Francisco-based line of frozen vegetable snacks called Peas of Mind, for instance, turns vegetables into fun forms, like baked “fries” made from vegetables.
    • Sales of private label frozen products continue to grow across many categories, and retailers and their manufacturer partners continue to team up to boost the presence and reputation of their respective store brands. Success of private label varies by category, with private label dominating such areas as frozen potatoes and frozen fruit.
    • As the population ages and households shrink, expect more single-serve or duo-serve packages of frozen food, designed to be convenient, easy and nutritious. Examples include New Orleans-based Zatarain’s new frozen meals for two and “Just for One” packages of frozen vegetables from Green Giant, a brand of Minneapolis-based General Mills.
       

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