Something has changed in the frozen food aisle. It was not too long ago that the frozen food aisle was synonymous with some of the unhealthiest food choices, such as TV dinner featuring a slab of sodium-laden mystery meat with flavorless vegetables on the side. Let’s give some credit where credit is due, though. The first TV dinners were a hallmark of how technology could make our lives easier. And at the very least, they are a healthier alternative to picking up fast food for dinner — not perfect, but better.
Fast-forward past the low-fat trends of the 1980s and 1990s today and healthy food is now something that you can find in the frozen food aisle thanks to evolving consumer preferences. The demand for frozen food has skyrocketed due to COVID-19, bouncing back after several years of struggling.
Social distancing and lockdown orders have increased the desire for convenience. And, as noted by market research, the demand for meatless and plant-based options is also on the rise.
Now, we have hopeful news on the COVID front, with the vaccine slowly rolling out. But even as restaurants begin to re-open for indoor dining (somewhere down the line), these changes are here to stay. Not even the pandemic has slowed the rapid growth of the plant-based food market. According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based meat outperformed its prior-year performance and animal-based meat’s dollar sales growth over the same time period. And there is still plenty of room for growth across multiple categories, from plant-based eggs to seafood and yes, convenience foods–even in the UK, where ready-to-eat meals have are particularly popular.
I predict that the frozen food aisle’s transformation will only evolve faster. Additional market research shows that people view companies that take sustainability seriously positively, making plant-based options the obvious choice for the climate-conscious among us. More and more people are beginning to consider the impact that their food choices have on the environment. Roughly a quarter of Millennials consider sustainability whenever they make a purchase, plus, the numbers there and among other generations continue to grow.
Experts say that the popularity of factors such as the sustainability and healthfulness of food were propelled by COVID. While these were once considered “aspirational,” they’re now becoming the standard. Just as plant-based milk has taken over the dairy aisle and vegan meat is now at home among animal-based burgers and sausages, the frozen food aisle is undergoing a similar, significant transformation. One that we will continue to see grow rapidly throughout the year