- Nearly half of customers began shopping for extra frozen meals through the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with a brand new report from The Freedonia Group. Seven in 10 are centered on sustaining a stockpile of meals at residence.
- In the course of the pandemic, 39% of customers sought out single-serving or individually wrapped merchandise, which use bigger quantities of packaging supplies. Prepackaged meals, together with frozen varieties, additionally noticed greater gross sales than recent produce saved in free packing containers due to well being considerations.
- The rise in frozen meals purchases has added momentum to customers’ demand for extra sustainable packaging supplies. Many producers and retailers have made current efforts to swap out older packaging for recyclable, reusable and compostable choices.
Frozen meals purchases have been on a gradual climb since COVID-19 first hit. The objects which have seen the largest tailwinds, in accordance with the report, embrace pizza (37%), greens (37%), entrees (27%) and poultry (26%). A couple of different objects that noticed a lift embrace beef, breakfast merchandise, aspect dishes, seafood, fruit and desserts.
Between November 2019 and November 2020 alone, frozen meals gross sales climbed 17.4%, in accordance with information from IRI and the Worldwide Dairy Deli Bakery Affiliation. That pattern hasn’t slowed, with frozen meals driving middle retailer gross sales development in 2021. Almost each frozen product class has posted double-digit gross sales will increase, in accordance with a report from the American Frozen Meals Institute and the Meals Trade Affiliation (FMI). Freedonia Group discovered U.S. shipments of frozen meals are slated to hit $108 billion by 2024, representing a 2.5% improve annually, in accordance with the report. That determine will not be solely influenced by greater demand, nevertheless it additionally displays meals producers including quite a lot of new frozen meals — together with wholesome, natural and clear label choices — to their lineups.
With customers growing demand for frozen meals and individually-wrapped objects, the packaging trade is scrambling to maintain up. New demand for frozen meals packaging has spurred innovation, together with enhancements round microwavable merchandise, together with steamable packaging. Developments in cold-chain expertise and good packaging that offers off alerts when the temperature modifications can assist meet growing want.
Sustainability is a significant matter amongst customers, who’re changing into extra involved about the place the packaging from their meals winds up. The Freedonia Group report notes various main frozen meals producers have signed on to the Ellen MacArthur Basis’s World Dedication to get rid of plastic waste — which entails eliminating problematic or pointless packaging, innovating towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 and upcycling. To this point, meals producers together with Danone and Mondelez, plastic meals packaging makers Amcor and Berry World and grocery retailers Goal and Walmart have signed on to the dedication.
Frozen meals packaging firms are additionally working towards creating sustainable choices. Related Packaging Applied sciences is among the many first to enterprise into recyclable frozen meals packaging, and developed recycled crystallized polyethylene terephthalate frozen meals trays containing between 30% and 40% post-consumer recycled content material. Packaging suppliers Glenroy’s, Emmerson Packaging and ProAmpac are additionally making strides towards larger sustainability in frozen meals packaging, in accordance with the Freedonia Group report. The report additionally factors out Sonoco Merchandise’ 100% sugarcane-based fiber bowl for refrigerated, frozen and ready meals, and Perdue’s compostable foam packaging comprised of cornstarch that dissolves beneath operating water for frozen meat objects.
Meals firms are additionally working towards creating next-generation packaging. Nestlé pledged $2 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion) in direction of sustainable packaging growth. Common Mills’ Nature Valley model is debuting absolutely recyclable plastic wrappers this spring, Kraft Heinz is testing recyclable paper bowls for its Macaroni & Cheese cups, and Diageo and PepsiCo are designing paper bottles to debut in 2021. Coca-Cola can also be transitioning to bottles comprised of 100% recycled plastic.
Whereas customers are inserting the next premium on sustainable packaging, they’re additionally prepared to shell out extra for merchandise that meet these preferences. A current Shorr Packaging survey discovered seven out of 10 consumers verify packaging and can pay extra consideration to each packaging and labels shifting ahead. If packaging clearly states that it’s reusable or recyclable, 58% stated they’d be probably or very prone to make the acquisition. So whereas the pandemic and its aftermath could make customers desirous about extra packaged merchandise within the close to time period, together with a sustainability component may clearly repay.