According to Kantar, during the pandemic more shoppers turned to their local and independent stores for everyday essentials, boosting the frozen category in particular, as an alternative to eating out.

Market experts point out that this new habit formed during the pandemic and has led to an increase in penetration and higher frequency of purchase, benefitting the category.

The frozen coated category finally moves back into growth after over a year of decline in 2021, which appeared to be a relatively poor year because of the stellar 2020 that the category enjoyed as a result of Covid (Kantar).

Over 12 weeks, value grows by +3.3% and volume by +2.3% and, over the shorter time period of 4 weeks, this growth accelerates considerably to +10% for value and +6.9% for volume.

“Certainly, shoppers are migrating from the chilled to the frozen aisle as the cost of living rises and, together with inflation, reduces disposable income,” says a Seara spokesperson.

“We clearly see that chicken overall is increasing in consumption because it still is the most affordable, healthy, nutritious, convenient and versatile protein, so it will always be present in the nation’s fridges and freezers, especially with inflation hitting hard so many households. There is a shift in the market towards a less expensive product mix which is in part driven by consumers’ financial considerations as the cost of living crisis begins to bite.”

Over the years, Seara has developed a full portfolio of chicken products to address customers’ needs in all frozen categories, but undoubtedly the brand’s best sellers are the premium coated products made with a 100% whole muscle chicken breast.

The major best seller in the segment is the Seara battered chicken chunks, but also the chicken goujons and fillets perform really well.

With the options of breaded or battered coating, the range has a variety of flavours such as the traditional, southern fried and hot and spicy.

“As an innovative brand we always have several NPD in the pipeline, but during the pandemic we’ve decided to keep our range streamlined and focused on our traditional core products, ensuring value, quality and service to our clients,” adds the spokesperson.

The Seara brand had outperformed the overall growth of the frozen chicken category, both in volume and value.

Seara has an on-going strategic marketing plan which encompasses every activity from market research to participation in fairs, promotional calendars and in-store support to distributors.

“Our customers always demand and we ensure the best value for money, best quality, food safety and most importantly reliable supply,” says the spokesperson. “But, since 2020 we’ve stepped up our in-store promotional activities and marketing campaigns with our key partners.”

Seara is renowned for building long-term relationships with its customers, always offering high quality products with care for the animal welfare and the environment.

With a complete product portfolio for the food service channel, Seara seeks to deliver adequate solutions to each of its customers through its experts in the segment.

With the price of dining out soaring in the coming months and the cost of food and ingredients already squeezing the trade margins, many analysts forecast that the overall food and drink inflation will reach +10% in restaurants.

This cost-of-living crisis will probably hit consumers’ pockets and lead to fewer takeaways being ordered as people spend more on energy bills instead.

“Nevertheless, we firmly believe that Seara’s frozen chicken products are the best suited to help our distributors and the nation’s shoppers navigate through this turbulent period of the economy,” adds the spokesperson.

Proper Lancashire baker, Holland’s Pies, has announced that a select variety of its best-selling pies are to become available in single price-marked packs (PMP).

Available in the frozen aisle now, the new and convenient packs will be offered in select customer favourite flavours including Potato & Meat, Steak & Kidney and Cheese & Onion. Peppered Steak, which the pie-maker launched last September and is on its way to become one of the brand’s top selling value rate of sale pies, will also be available in this format.

Perfect for convenience shoppers, the range can be cooked from frozen to perfection in 35 minutes or simply microwaved for three to four minutes.

Sustainably packaged in cardboard, the space-saving PMP allow for easy merchandising and with more products able to fit on-shelf, give the customer more choice of their favourite pastry delights.

Hamish Anderson, Head of Commercial, VBites Foods, comments: “At Vbites we are excited to be launching our new wholesale range of Meat and Dairy Free, plant-based products which include sausages, burgers, hot dogs, breaded goujons, sliced cooked meat alternatives, grated melting cheeses for pizza toppings, and cheese blocks too. The plant-based sector is a key driver of growth within frozen and chilled and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with a projected growth of near 74% over the next four years”.

43.7% of UK shoppers are now considering themselves to be following a flexitarian diet (Kantar Dietary Survey 2020).

With consumers embracing the notion of eating more vegetables and lowering their animal protein consumption, 29% of meals in the United Kingdom are now meat- and fish-free, according to Kantar Worldpanel – and 92% of that growth can be attributed to flexitarians.

“Considering that 16million Brits are or plan to be meat-free in 2022 if you haven’t got your meat free, dairy free ranges sorted then we can help you,” adds Anderson.

“Especially popular within our existing wholesale customers are our Precooked burgers and precooked sausages. Independent caterers and food service clients find their ready to reheat rather than cook from raw to be a great advantage for quick to heat food safe. Our dairy free vegan grated mozzarella cheese is preferred to all others by the UK market leader in the Pizza delivery enjoying a superior melt, taste and texture.”

As a pioneer in the plant-based food movement, and manufacturing for 30 years next year, VBites remains one of just a handful of UK based plant-based only manufacturers.

Over this time the firm has invested significantly in NPD and has market leading expertise in Soya, Pea protein, and Gluten based proteins. It has developed an extensive and exciting range of plant-based meat and cheese alternatives.

“We can help support you with our eye-catching POS, helping your shoppers easily find our category and be persuaded by compelling reasons to purchase,” says Anderson.

“We can help you identify a core range that works best. Investing in our POS helps increase footfall and maximise sales. It works especially well when it is selling the solution to your customers’ problems in conjunction with product ideas and pricing. Within our wholesale range our fully cooked products are especially attractive to your foodservice customers looking for speedy but food safe -“heat and eat”. Many consumers struggle to tell the difference between our meat and dairy free products once in the meal context setting. Our products are liked just as much by flexitarians as they are by vegans.”

Leanne Holcroft, Brand Manager for Holland’s Pies, says: “Cash and carries and independent retailers are hugely important to us, and we’re excited to be expanding our range for them with these brand-new and convenient price-marked packs from June. As the nation’s favourite frozen pie brand, we’re continuously looking at ways that our fans can best experience our mouth-watering pies and these single boxes are ideal for those looking for a quick snack or a cosy night in.”

Martin Purdy, Commercial and Marketing Director at Florette UK, comments: “Those who look on salad as a ‘nice to stock’ are missing out on a major sales opportunity in the chiller.”

The leafy prepared salads market is worth over £600m annually and continues to see big sales uplift during the summer season. More shoppers are purchasing the category year on year too, with half a million more shoppers than in 2021.

“As we step into summer, prepared salad sales rise exponentially with the demand for lighter eating with a fresh accompaniment like Florette becoming a staple – making it the ideal time to include bagged salads as part of a meal solution or cross category meal deal,” adds Purdy.

The rise of the mid-week BBQ is also showing no sign of going away as our lifestyles have adapted to working from home more often.

With 6 million households already buying Florette each year, the brand has become a beacon in the chiller with shoppers recognising its quality and health credentials when seeking summer meal solutions.

With the resurgence of healthy eating, there has been a move from calorie control to positively managing health in an active way, with consumers opting for a more varied and natural diet. Demand for fresh ready-to-eat options will only increase with Leafy Prepared Salad offering a quick lunch or side of plate option.

Florette has launched a major on-pack partnership with the world’s biggest animated franchise to coincide with this summer’s much-anticipated film release ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’. The mischievous, iconic characters will embellish over 13 million packs of Florette as part of an on-pack promotion.

Florette is continuing to innovate and appeal to the growing number of shoppers looking to lead healthier lifestyles, with the launch of a new bagged salad.

Superfood (120g RSP £1.80), comprising a wild rocket and baby kale mix, brings a point of difference to the sector with the inclusion of ‘Immune Support’ messaging on front of pack, calling out the specific health benefits of the carefully balanced leaf mix.

Launched in May, the new variant perfectly balances vegetables and leaves selected for their full flavour and nutritional benefits; with each portion being naturally high in folate, vitamins A and K, and a good source of vitamin C.

Jose Alves, Marketing Manager, Ice Cream at General Mills, comments: “Häagen-Dazs is the number one brand for superior taste experiences and our aim is to create special moments of indulgence that our customers can enjoy at home.

“We’re working to de-seasonalise and drive reputation as a year-round growth driver by focusing on flavour, variety, and format needs of consumers. We are continuously innovating across our portfolio to make sure that we provide a range of choices for any occasion – whether that’s at home or on-the-go, winter or summer.”

The Häagen-Dazs portfolio is multi-functional; its tubs tap into the sharing at-home occasion, while the mini cups (including our gelato selection) provide individual portion-sizes, ideal for those treat occasion opportunities, while also catering to the mindful consumption trend.

Nielsen data shows 36% of consumers are treating themselves more than ever – at the same time, we are seeing a more holistic shift to ‘better for you’ products. Shoppers are torn between the push towards healthier living and their desire for comfort and indulgence.

“The extension of our NPD into mini cups is an important shift we made as a brand,” adds Alves. “By introducing the new DUO mini cup collection, we are tapping into the mindful indulgence trend by using high quality, premium ingredients in portion-controlled sizes. We are empowering consumers to make their own choices and helping them overcome barriers to indulgence without compromising on taste.”

A new trend emerging within ice cream is ‘snackification’; suppliers are taking alternative routes and expanding into new formats across the category. We’ve seen this so far take the form of cookie dough bites, mochi and ice cream sandwiches amongst others, where ice cream is being introduced into compatible snacking formats.

Häagen-Dazs mini cups provide individual portion-sizes, ideal for those snacking occasions, while also catering to the mindful consumption trend. They are the only format that combine the benefits of Spoonable and on-the-go for maximum indulgence and escapism. Häagen-Dazs mini cups currently outperform the category, growing by 67% and up +38% MAT in convenience vs. two YA (Ipsos).

The brand extended its DUO collection to introduce DUO mini cups. The two new 4 x 95ml mini cups multipacks will offer a variety of flavours within each flavour camp, to broaden consumer appeal. The offerings present the perfect answer to the growing trend for ‘portion controlled’ ice cream without compromising on taste, ingredients, or indulgence levels.

Häagen-Dazs recently launched its newest campaign ‘The Ice Creams of Ice Creams’ which aims to drive category growth across key markets including the UK.

TV and VOD ads will run across Sky, ITV and Channel 4 supported by social media activity, attention-grabbing digital shorts and close collaboration with local influencers.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “Within the cheese market, processed cheese is growing 2.8% (Nielsen), and brands are playing a huge part in this. In fact, Mondel?z International’s contribution to the category is growing ahead of the market at 4% (Nielsen).”

During times of uncertainty consumers seek out recognised brands they know and trust, that deliver on familiarity and taste. With an established heritage and a wide portfolio, both Dairylea and Philadelphia are household favourites.

Philadelphia is the number one cream cheese brand (Nielsen) in the UK. Its core range has a distinctive creamy taste meeting the needs of shoppers for more than 100 years, with a whole range of flavours and fat levels, as well as a snacks range. This makes it a versatile choice for mealtimes and on-the-go.

Dairylea is the number one (Nielsen) processed cheese brand in the UK, with products in the Spreads & Portions, Slices, Parents to Kids and Snacking Kits segments, meeting a range of consumer needs fit to tackle “the new normal”. This, paired with the return of the snacking occasion thanks to consumers getting back on-the-go, has helped Dairylea to grow by 9.6% (Nielsen).

There is an increasing consumer appetite for varied snacking options, and plant-based alternatives have never been in higher demand. In fact, Veganuary 2022 exceeded last year’s total sign-ups of 580,000 people, with more than 600,000 consumers having attempted to follow a plant-based diet this year.

A focus on leading healthier lifestyles continues to grow in prominence, with cheese snacks often viewed by consumers as ‘better than other categories’. Pack formats can help them to manage portion control, while still enjoying a great-tasting product. Dairylea’s triangles, made with milk and cheese, provide a good source of calcium with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. At 33kcals per triangle, this tasty snack is perfect for the shoppers looking for portion control for their families.

As well as this, many of the Dairylea snacking products, including the portable format of Dairylea Filled Crackers, moved to under 100kcal in line with its commitment to bring snacks that are typically bought for families under this threshold. This meant that in 2021 Dairylea removed over 2 billion calories from its range.

Cream cheese products such as Philadelphia Light, which has the same taste as Philadelphia Original but with 40% less fat, enable consumers to make quick, convenient and great tasting lunches. The brand’s ‘Better for You’ range of lower fat products is in growth of +4.3% (Nielsen). All of Philadelphia Snacks products are now under 100kcal per portion, meaning they are an ideal lighter treat for health-conscious consumers.

Philadelphia has unveiled a brand-new consumer campaign, ‘Deliciously Simple’, to help boost retailers’ sales in the category. The campaign aims to make Philadelphia synonymous with simplicity, while keeping the importance of taste and the lunch occasion at its core. but delicious.

‘Deliciously Simple’ is supported by a significant spend on OOH activations in high-traffic key locations and at roadsides.

Meat free eating is at an all-time high, with almost 50% of the UK population buying into the category – that’s more than 28 million households choosing meat free (Kantar).

This is also reflected in the increasing popularity of Veganuary, which saw its highest ever number of pledges in 2022, presenting retailers with an even bigger platform to maximise on meat free sales.

“Shoppers have never been more aware of their environmental impact and how their everyday choices can have a positive effect. This has created a sustained interest in meat free diets, whether that’s vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian,” says Gill Riley Marketing Director at Quorn Foods UK.

Quorn, as the UK’s number one meat-free brand (IRI), plays an important role in the category. Quorn’s chilled and frozen products are extremely versatile and provide meat free meals for every mood, making them an accessible choice for the whole family.

“We’re confident that our products are a crucial penetration and frequency driver for retailers and wholesalers and would advise them to stock NPD alongside Quorn’s best-known products, such as Mince, Sausages and Pieces, to make the most of meat free sales,” continues Riley.

“Quorn is a beacon brand within meat free and our impactful campaigns ensure that brand awareness is at an all-time high. Not only do we have a very loyal and enthusiastic existing consumer base, but our exciting innovations in chilled and frozen are bringing in new shoppers, with delicious products that are better for the planet,” concludes Riley.

In June, Cathedral City, the Nation’s Favourite cheese (IRI), unveiled new side opening packaging, featuring the brand’s signature resealable, zip lock.

The brand is the first in the UK to introduce side opening block cheese packaging which is resealable.

Convenience is at the heart of the re-design, giving consumers the ability to seamlessly slide the cheese in and out of the pack without touching the bare cheese block, so they can slice or grate it straight from the packet. To help reduce food waste, the updated packaging keeps the cheese fresher for longer as the shorter zip makes resealing it even easier. It also reduces the plastic content by 6%, saving 40 tonnes of plastic a year.

In consumer trials, over 60% of users preferred the new side opening format (Future Thinking). 73% of consumers also agreed the zip lock would keep their cheddar fresher for longer and would be easy to open and reclose multiple times.

Neil Stewart, Cathedral City Marketing Controller at Saputo Dairy UK, says, “Research has told us that consumers are looking for ease and convenience when using their block of cheese. Hygienic handling and the ability to keep the cheese as fresh as possible were also key considerations and our new side opening, resealable packs achieve all of those things. The fact that we are the first brand on the market to introduce such a pack demonstrates the commitment, passion, and expertise that we at Cathedral City put into everything we do.

“We will always listen to our customers and their feedback and, as such, the packaging will continue to feature the press to close ability that not only keeps our cheese fresh and helps to reduce food waste, but also eliminates the need for secondary plastic to reseal the cheese once opened.”

The new packaging, which follows the brand’s recently relaunched design, will be replacing Cathedral City’s current top opening packs. In May, Saputo Dairy UK revealed a new brand identity for Cathedral City featuring a modern, redesigned city scene around its iconic cathedral and new, vibrant SKU-specific colourways to complement its signature burgundy.



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