Millennials have built up quite a list of industries and businesses for which they are responsible for “killing” over the past few years – from restaurant chains and mass-produced beer to starter homes and napkins. Finally, it seems millennials have redeemed themselves in what is arguably the last place one might expect: the frozen food aisle.
Frozen Out of the Frozen Aisle
The millennial generation has long been identified with healthy food trends like raw and fresh produce, all-natural ingredients, and antibiotic-free meat and dairy. In addition, ingredients like organic quinoa traditionally had no place in the frozen food aisle. Instead, the aisle featured items with a relatively stale product and marketing mix, further alienating millennial consumers. It comes as no surprise, then, that many traditional grocery stores have seen gradually decreasing profits over the past decade as many millennials lean towards specialty grocers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
Another key factor that affects millennial food purchases is convenience. Despite an interest in cooking, millennials seek convenient food options. Fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle are widely popular among the demographic, and frozen food suppliers have taken note. When cooking meals, many millennials find it more convenient to purchase frozen vegetables and side dishes. Products such as Birdseye Steamfresh vegetables steam in the bag in the microwave, giving millennial cooks one less thing to worry about as they sear their grass-fed steaks.
A Finger on the Pulse
With the growing importance of millennials to food sales – as the cohort now constitutes the country’s largest demographic group and is entering the period of family creation – frozen food suppliers have been forced to reconsider their product offerings with these novel consumer tastes and preferences in mind. Manufacturers have introduced many new frozen food products in the past two years that are made with all-natural and organic ingredients, flavor profiles similar to trendy (often ethnically diverse) foods, and portions reminiscent of the bowls and wraps at popular fast casual food spots.
It seems the frozen food industry may have figured out the secret to surviving the onslaught of millennial attacks on industries and businesses: adapt. Millennials are here to stay, and food companies can profit by meeting their needs for quality and convenient meals and sides by investing in their frozen food products and marketing. For instance, Conagra Brands has revamped its Healthy Choice line of frozen meals, which now features Power Bowls with ingredients like kale and quinoa.
If that doesn’t work, clever product placement in a popular Netflix series just might help.
Want to Learn More?
Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Frozen Foods: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2022 US frozen food demand and shipments in nominal US dollars at the manufacturer level. Total demand and shipments are segmented by product in terms of:
- meat and poultry
- produce and juice
- ice cream and frozen desserts
- baked goods
To illustrate historical trends, total demand, total shipments, the various segments, and trade are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.
While you’re there, check out some of our related reports, which include:
About the Author
Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.