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July 19, 2021updated 20 Jul 2021 10:10am

UK frozen-food sales slow as “shopping habits return to normal”

Industry body The British Frozen Food Federation points out the category is worth GBP1bn more than two years ago.

Frozen-food sales in the UK have shown signs of melting in recent weeks as shopping habits return to normal, Kantar data released by industry body The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) shows.

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  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
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However, the BFFF sought to underline how the category is still worth GBP1bn (US$1.37bn) more than two years ago.

In the 13 weeks to 13 June, the UK’s frozen-food category saw sales fall 5.7% by value and 7.1% by volume, according to the Kantar data. The value of the fresh and chilled category was down 1.2% in value terms and by 5.1% when volumes are measured.

“In 2020, fresh and chilled was growing behind frozen so the year-on-year comparison on 12 weeks maybe skewed by this,” a presentation provided by the BFFF read.

“Across the whole grocery market, we are seeing sales being behind last year when the foodservice market was largely closed.

“We are now seeing the value growth of the frozen market slowing down as shoppers return to more normal shopping patterns.

“However the market remains nearly GBP1bn higher than the 52 weeks ended June 2019, with an additional 241 tonnes of volume.”

Kantar’s figures for the 52-week period ending 13 June reveal frozen-food sales outperformed total grocery growth in both value (7.8% compared to 6.9%) and volume (5.2% compared to 4.8%) terms.

While accepting the value growth of the frozen market is slowing down as consumers return to more normal shopping patterns, Richard Harrow, chief executive of the BFFF, believes frozen will remain on an upward trajectory.

“Frozen food has, in the last 12 months, become the fastest growing sector in retail, after alcohol. Of course, much of this growth has been the result of the pandemic, which after the shutters came down on out-of-home, saw the return of the big weekly shop, from which frozen directly benefited,” he said.

“Further insights from the latest Kantar figures also suggest that frozen will continue to be a winner. All nine of the categories are showing growth in both value and volume, with three categories – ice cream, fish and savoury – showing double-digit growth.”

Data suggests Gen Z consumers are at the forefront of the frozen meal surge, Harrow said: “As well as convenience being of utmost importance, Gen Z consumers place a higher value on flavour and quality of ingredients, as opposed to seeking out brands.”

He added: “Frozen has always been recognised as a great value option, but value is now combined with innovation as companies work to develop high-quality frozen free-from products, sustainable packaging solutions and plant-based meals.”

Just Food archive: Beyond Covid-19 – will frozen food see long-term boost in UK?

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What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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