As COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerates Existing Trends in Frozen Specialty Foods, Packaging Suppliers Stand to Benefit

A sharp increase in remote work and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic boosted at-home meal preparation, which, in turn, prompted consumers to stock up on convenient, long-lasting frozen foods. As a result, demand for frozen specialty food packaging increased 5% in 2020 from the year prior:

  • Consumer demand for healthy, innovative frozen specialty foods was already on the rise prior to the pandemic, driving a flurry of innovation in terms of flavor profiles as well as packaging.
  • Innovation has been especially strong in the premium space – think cauliflower pizza, zucchini pasta, and organic and vegan meal bowls – driven by shifting consumer perceptions about the healthfulness of frozen foods. These trends continue to add value to related packaging sales, as these brands are more likely to employ higher-value sustainable packaging,
  • Rising demand for portion-control sizes have driven rapid growth for frozen meal bowls, as well as for more traditional trays, as smaller servings result in more packaging use per product.

Heightened sales of frozen specialties and other frozen foods are expected to carry forward – supporting related packaging demand – as consumers grow more accustomed to the convenience of frozen foods and more familiar with the quality and variety of frozen dinners, entrées, and other available items.

Frozen Specialty Food Packaging Demand to Exceed $3 Billion in 2024

US demand for frozen specialty food packaging is forecast to increase 4.0% per year through 2024, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis. Sales gains will be driven by:

  • strong consumer demand for convenience-type foods
  • product innovations and a continuously expanding range of healthy and premium options, which tend to use higher value packaging
  • increased at-home meal preparation
  • the use of higher value packaging – including stand-up pouches, susceptor trays, and folding cartons with high-quality graphics – that can help differentiate products
  • expanded availability of products in portion-control sizes, with smaller servings resulting in higher packaging use per product

Want to Learn More?

Frozen Specialty Food Packaging and other studies on the frozen food packaging industry are now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the market for frozen specialty food packaging. Historical (2009, 2014 and 2019) data and forecasts to 2024 are presented in current dollars by packaging type (including all primary rigid and flexible types) and by application. Applications include:

  • frozen dinners
  • pizza, including pizza pies, slices, flatbreads, pizza pockets, pizza rolls, and other frozen pizza products (e.g., Kraft Heinz’s Bagel Bites pizza snacks)
  • entrées and side dishes
  • breakfast foods
  • other frozen specialties (e.g., appetizers, blintzes, burritos, egg rolls, hand-held entrées, hot cereal, meat substitute products, pierogis, quiche, snacks, soups, tacos, whipped toppings)