Pandemic Jump in Frozen Meat, Poultry, & Seafood Packaging Market Hides Divergent Trends

Cleveland OH, August 17, 2021 – A new Freedonia Group analysis finds that sales of frozen meat, poultry, and seafood packaging spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, with demand in 2020 nearly 6% high than in 2019.

However, this growth rate hides very divergent trends. While frozen meat, poultry, and seafood (MPS) sales were up strongly for consumers, demand in the foodservice market fell sharply, hindered by restaurant closures early in the pandemic and reduced foodservice business for 2020 overall.

Some Retail Frozen MPS Sales Soared 30-40% Early in Pandemic

Retail sales of frozen meat, poultry, and seafood skyrocketed in the early months 2020 following lockdown, with some retail products seeing increases of 30-40% compared to the same time during the prior year. This was due largely to elevated demand for frozen foods as consumers:

  • prepared more meals at home in lieu of eating out
  • increased their interest in having a stock of nonperishable foods at home, as 71% of respondents to The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey conducted in August 2020 indicated that they like to have a stockpile of nonperishable food at home in case of an emergency
  • sought frozen foods as part of that stockpiling or increased home cooking, as 43% indicated that they were buying more frozen food because of the coronavirus pandemic

Frozen MPS packaging demand will remain elevated in 2021. However, the Freedonia Group study finds growth will return to historical rates through 2024 as the surge in demand at the food retail level moderates, with demand for MPS packaging forecast to grow 3.6% annually to $2.6 billion in 2024.

Want to Learn More?

Frozen Meat, Poultry, & Seafood Packaging is now available from the Freedonia Group.

This study analyzes the market for frozen food packaging by application, product, and material. Historical (2009, 2014 and 2019) data and forecasts to 2024 are presented in current dollars.


  • meat (e.g., beef and veal, pork, lamb) as well as meat products marketed as breakfast meats
  • poultry (chicken, turkey, and other products such as goose and duck)
  • seafood (all fish and shellfish)

Flexible products:

  • bags
  • wrap
  • pouches (flat, stand-up)
  • other flexible packaging (e.g., chubs, vacuum skin packaging, paper interleaving)

Rigid products:

  • boxes (e.g., folding cartons, corrugated boxes, gable top cartons)
  • trays
  • paperboard sleeves
  • other rigid packaging


  • plastic
  • paper and paperboard
  • foil and other materials (e.g., molded pulp)

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