The COVID-19 pandemic, which is still very much present worldwide, has profoundly affected all aspects of human life. Industries ranging from travel and hospitality to fashion and beauty have been impacted significantly.
However, while some industries have been affected negatively (such as travel and hospitality), some have seen a boost during these turbulent times.
One such industry is the frozen food industry, which has seen significant growth during 2020 and 2021 and looks poised for continued success in the years to come.
In this article, we will take a look at the current state of the frozen food industry, as well as some of the trends and challenges that it is facing.
What is frozen food?
Frozen food is, quite simply, food that has been preserved by being kept at a temperature below 0°C. This freezing process can be done commercially or in the home, and it is a popular method of food preservation because it helps to prolong the shelf life of food significantly.
The purpose of commercially frozen food products is to provide consumers with a convenient way to enjoy fresh food all year round, regardless of the season. Cooking time is also reduced, as frozen food can often be cooked from frozen. This is a big selling point for busy families who want to enjoy a healthy meal but don’t have the time to prepare everything from scratch.
Frozen food products
Frozen food products can be divided into several different categories according to product type:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products
- Bakery products (such as bread and frozen pizza crusts)
- Meat and seafood products
- Frozen desserts (ice cream, cakes, etc.)
- Convenience food and ready meals, and more
Just like with fresh food, there is a huge range of frozen food products available to consumers, and the industry is constantly striving to come up with new and exciting products.
How big is the frozen food industry?
Now let’s take a look at some numbers to get a better understanding of the size and scope of the frozen food industry.
According to a report by Polaris, the global frozen food market was valued at USD 252.19 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 389.90 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period (2022-2030).
While currently, Europe is the largest market for frozen food, Polaris predicts that the Asia Pacific will see the highest growth in the coming years due to the increasing demand from countries such as China, India, and Japan.
Out of the above-listed frozen food products, the frozen fish, meat, and seafood category currently hold the largest market share due to the growing popularity of these products among consumers.
However, the frozen fruit and vegetables segment is the largest and fastest-growing category due to the increasing health consciousness of consumers and the increasing availability of these products. Mushrooms, in particular, are seeing a big rise in popularity.
The summary of the above data is that the frozen foods market size is currently large and only expected to grow in the coming years. This provides a great opportunity for those in the industry to capitalize on this growth and continue to innovate in order to meet consumer demand.
What are the drivers and restraints of the frozen food market?
When we talk about market drivers, we are referring to the factors that are causing the frozen food market to grow. Two of the main drivers of this market growth are as follows:
- Busy, fast-paced lifestyles – As mentioned above, one of the main selling points of frozen food is the convenience factor. With more and more people leading busy lifestyles, there is a growing demand for products that can be quickly and easily prepared, such as frozen meals.
- Increased disposable income – As people’s incomes grow, they are more likely to spend money on convenience foods such as frozen food.
At the same time, all markets face restraints, and the frozen food market is no different. The main limitation currently affecting the industry is the public perception that frozen food is inferior to fresh food in terms of taste and nutrition. A widely believed myth is that any food stored for longer periods must be of lower quality.
However, this perception is slowly starting to change as consumers become more educated about the benefits of frozen food and as the industry continues to educate and invest in new technologies that can help to improve the taste and nutrition of frozen products.
What are the challenges facing the frozen food industry?
While developing countries such as Latin America, South America, South Africa, and others present an untapped potential for the frozen food industry, several challenges must be addressed to capitalize on this opportunity fully. These challenges include:
- Lack of infrastructure – In many developing countries, the lack of a reliable electricity supply and cold chain storage facilities presents a major challenge for the growth of the frozen food industry.
- High costs – Due to the lack of infrastructure and economies of scale, the costs of producing and distributing frozen food products in developing countries are often much higher than in developed countries. This makes it difficult for companies to compete in these markets.
- Food safety concerns – In many parts of the world, there is a lack of awareness about food safety and hygiene practices. This can lead to issues such as food contamination and spoilage.
Despite these challenges, as we explained above, the frozen food industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, driven by the increasing demand for convenience foods globally.
Which are the top players in the global frozen food market?
A few key players in the global frozen food market are as follows:
- Nestle (Switzerland)
- Unilever (United Kingdom)
- Conagra Brands (United States)
- General Mills (United States)
- Lantmannen Unibake International (Denmark)
- Kraft Heinz (United States)
- Grupo Bimbo (Mexico)
These are just a few of the biggest frozen food manufacturers operating in the market. As the industry continues to grow, we can expect to see more players enter the market and compete for a share of the pie.
How will the market change in the next few years?
Finally, we wanted to touch on some of the trends currently shaping the frozen food market and expected to continue doing so in the next few years. These trends include:
- A move towards healthier options – As consumers become more health-conscious, there is a growing demand for healthier frozen food options that are low in calories, fat, and sugar.
- An increase in plant-based options – Another trend that is being driven by health concerns and the rising popularity of the vegan diet is the increasing demand for plant-based frozen food options. This includes products such as veggie burgers, meatless chicken nuggets, and so on.
- Innovation in packaging and delivery – In order to meet the needs of today’s busy consumers, there is an increasing focus on innovation in packaging and delivery methods. This includes developing new packaging materials that keep food fresh for longer, as well as using novel delivery methods such as drones and robots.
How can your business stand out in the frozen food market?
The state of the market as it is now is incredibly promising for businesses in the frozen food industry. However, as we have seen, the market is also highly competitive. It is important to focus on innovation to stand out and increase your market share. This can be done in terms of product development, packaging, and marketing.
Streamlining and automating your production process with smarter technologies, such as frozen food conveyor systems, is one way to reduce your costs and improve your efficiency. This will give your frozen food company a competitive edge and help you to better meet the needs of your customers.
Tubular cable and disc conveyors, such as Cablevey conveyors, are especially well-suited for handling frozen food products. They are designed to minimize product breakage and damage, and they can operate in sub-zero temperatures.
Despite a great number of industries suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the frozen food industry was one of the few that actually saw a boost in growth. This rise in frozen food sales is expected to continue in the coming years as the demand for convenience foods increases globally.
However, the frozen food market is also highly competitive, so companies need to focus on innovation to stand out. One way to do this is to invest in smarter technologies, such as frozen food conveyor systems, that can help to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Cablevey Conveyors is a leading provider of tubular cable and disc conveyor systems. Our products are especially well-suited for handling frozen food products and can operate in sub-zero temperatures. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you streamline your production process and improve your bottom line.