Frozen food sales surge continues despite lockdown easing


Sales of frozen food have continued to surge and increased by £221 million in the last three months according to the latest statistics from Kantar and the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

The growth in sales follows an increase of £285 million in the previous 12-week period from the end of March to 14th June, indicating that frozen food remains popular despite the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The latest Kantar figures for frozen retail sales in the 52 weeks ending 6th September reveal:

§ In the three months since 8th June, value rose by 13.6%, whilst volume was up by 9.9%.

§ The overall grocery market has grown 8.5% in value and 6.7% in volume over the 52 week period

§ Frozen has outperformed total grocery growth in both value (9.7%) and volume (8.4%)

§ Over the 52 week period the frozen category has added £617 million in sales value and 175 tonnes in volume

§ The frozen category has outperformed the fresh and chilled category in percentage growth terms.

High sales follows a trend first reported by BFFF in April, when data revealed that in the four weeks from 23rd February to 22nd March, British shoppers spent an extra £131 million.

This ranged from ice cream to frozen meat and poultry, in lead up to start of the national lockdown on 23rd March.

Commenting on the figures, Richard Harrow, BFFF chief executive said: “The performance of the frozen category remains very positive with continued growth ahead of total grocery. In all three sets of 12 week data supplied by Kantar this year, frozen value performance has been above both grocery and fresh and chilled in percentage terms.

“Not unexpectedly the latest figures reveal a slight decline in the massive sales growth in value and volume reported at the end of June. This is the result of shoppers adjusting their shopping habits as a result of an easing of lockdown restrictions.”

He added: “We know that since mid-March, more consumers than ever have been shopping in the frozen aisle. This is hardly surprising, given the long shelf-life, reduced food waste, value for money and variety of food on offer there. These latest figures indicate this may be a long-term trend.”

The Kantar figures also reveal long-term frozen sales are increasing, with the 52 weeks from 9th September 2019 to 6th September 2020 shows sales of frozen food reached £6.9 billion.

This has resulted an increase in value of 9.7%, and that volume grew to 8.4% in comparison with sales of fresh and chilled food jumping in value by 7%.

Kantar data shows eight out of nine categories of frozen food are in value and volume growth with six: ice cream, fish, vegetables, pizza, savoury and potato products in double digit value growth.

Mr Harrow added: “Whilst we have seen very strong growth in retail, the out of home sector is really suffering. Estimated figures from catering and hospitality specialist Peter Backman suggest annual sales for frozen in out of home in the last year are £1.6 billion, down from £2.4 billion in 2019.”