Exploring 2024’s Top Trends in Frozen Food Unveiling the Future of Frozen Culinary Delights

In the inaugural report, “Future of Frozen Food 2024,” Conagra Brands explores the evolving landscape of the $78 billion U.S. frozen food market. Drawing on Conagra Brands’ demand science expertise, NielsenIQ sales data, Circana’s National Eating Trends®, and insights from Black Swan Data, the report uncovers five emerging trends set to shape the U.S. frozen food department in 2024.

Bob Nolan, Senior Vice President of Demand Science at Conagra Brands, emphasized the significance of leveraging data-driven insights to anticipate consumer preferences and experiences in the year ahead. Unlike traditional surveys, Conagra’s approach delves deep into data to uncover tastes and trends.

2024 Emerging Trends:

  1. A Taste of Global Cuisine: Traditional ‘meat-and-potatoes’ are making way for bolder global flavors in the frozen food aisles. The report highlights the growing influence of Asian-inspired foods, such as Indian and Korean BBQ, on consumer preferences and social media trends.
  2. Frozen Foods Rising and Shining at Breakfast: Breakfast emerges as a hot time for frozen food consumption, with items like croissant sandwiches and breakfast burritos driving growth. Frozen breakfast sandwiches alone contribute $2.3 billion in sales, fueled by time savings, variety, and a range of indulgent and healthy options.
  3. Big Appetites for Bites and Mini Portions: The frozen space witnesses a surge in small-sized yet flavorful options, reflecting the rise of snacking culture. Producers promote bites and minis for portion control, healthier choices, and quick satisfaction, as evident in the three million internet searches for recipes in the past year.
  4. Fun and Convenient Kids Meals: Kid-friendly frozen foods that are easy for parents to prepare experience significant growth, generating over $248 million in annual sales. Beyond convenience, taste, and variety, families turn to frozen foods to manage budgets and reduce food waste.
  5. The Air Fryer’s Influence on Food Prep: The report notes a 27-point increase in air fryer ownership since 2020, impacting frozen food with a 90% surge in air-frying instructions. Air-fryer preparation offers time savings, a healthier option, and less heat emission for year-round cooking.

Bob Nolan expresses that these trends reflect Americans’ growing desire for new, exciting, and unique frozen food flavors, showcasing vast possibilities for continued innovations.

US Frozen Food Snapshot:

  • The U.S. leads the global frozen food marketplace.
  • Eight in 10 Americans choose frozen food weekly, consuming them about four times each week.
  • Over half of Americans stock frozen vegetables, with nearly half owning at least one secondary freezer.
  • Prepared foods, desserts, and seafood are the top three categories by dollar share.
  • The report explores generational differences in frozen food preferences among Gen Z, Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, and empty nesters and senior couples.

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