• 74% of convenience store participants have seen demand for frozen food grow this year, with 42% saying frozen grew more than any other category
  • Over a third have expanded their freezer space to meet this demand, but only 40% regularly include frozen food in their product orders
  • Frozen ready meals and savoury meal accompaniments have seen the biggest increases with retailers, while pizza and ice cream remain the most popular overall

To better understand the numerous obstacles independent retailers have continued to face during 2020, Birds Eye has worked with KAM Media to delve into how, as the leader of the frozen food category, it can further aid the convenience channel.

Through a dedicated survey of 200 independent UK retailers, the findings highlight how the demand for frozen food has expanded since the lockdown in March, with 42% of respondents citing how the frozen category grew at a greater rate compared to other product categories[1]. Nearly three quarters of participants have seen demand for frozen grow overall, at least in line with other categories.

The growth of frozen food seen by independent retailers mirrors the nationwide picture at a grocery level too, and reinforces the attractive proposition that frozen food offers, especially with ready meals and savoury meal accompaniments, which saw the biggest demand surge according to retailers[2].

Chris West, channel controller at Birds Eye commented: “The lockdown period has served as a way to emphasise the role that independent retailers play in supporting society, as well as demonstrating that the frozen food category poses a real, long-term opportunity for them to expand their shoppers’ repertoire, amplified further by the growth of home deliveries.”

The research demonstrates how frozen food should be at the forefront of retailers’ expansion plans, as it’s a flourishing sector within the impulse channel that has greater appeal to shoppers due to its convenience and variety. 19% of retailers named frozen as a category they plan to invest in more over the coming months[3], beating household and tobacco products among others, with over a third of retailers having increased their freezer space in store already this year[4].

“On the back of these findings, Birds Eye remains committed to working with independent retailers in order to help expand their frozen food offering and better meet changing shopper demands, which we’re looking forward to developing further in 2021 alongside new campaigns and product innovations launching across our fish, chicken, sides and meat-free ranges.

“For example, we have recently made price-marked packs available on our core products from the meat-free Green Cuisine range – Sausages, Burgers and Veg Fingers. In line with demand for meat-free ranges peaking in the New Year when a large number of shoppers participate in ‘Veganuary’, our Green Cuisine products will be on promotion throughout January. Health is something many shoppers focus on when in store in January, so by being able to clearly communicate product value through the PMPs, as well as encouraging trial with promotions, we are helping retailers meet shopper needs at a crucial time of year.”

[1] KAM Media audit of 132 UK retailers, conducted March and August 2020

[2] KAM Media audit of 132 UK retailers, conducted March and August 2020

[3] KAM Media audit of 68 UK retailers, conducted March and August 2020

[4] KAM Media audit of 200 UK retailers, conducted March and August 2020

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