One in Four UK Consumers Rarely Visit the Frozen Food Aisle

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One in Four UK Consumers Rarely Visit the Frozen Food Aisle

July 05
11:05 2010

A YouGov SixthSense report into the chilled and frozen foods market reveals that 27% of UK adults rarely visit the frozen food aisle. The report also shows that a considerable number of consumers have not embraced new and non-traditional frozen food products.

Consumers are unhappy with the variety of foods on display in the frozen food aisle. Almost half of consumers (47%) believe that the frozen food section is ‘uninspiring’, whilst over a third think that the choice of frozen food on offer is ‘limited’. ‘Despite 40% of consumers saying they often vary the frozen food products they buy, almost as many (37%) claim that they continually buy the same frozen food items.

The reluctance on behalf of many customers to change their frozen food buying habits may be related to packaging design. 65% of respondents believe that frozen food packaging should be changed so that ‘you can see more of the product’, while 62% think that ‘it is difficult to tell whether frozen food is good quality or not’.

Commenting on the findings James McCoy, research director of YouGov SixthSense, says: “With frozen food aisles located at the back or the middle of most supermarkets, customers are less likely to browse in search of new products and are less suggestible to impulse buys from the frozen food selection.”

Ready Meals

The ready meal market has suffered slightly from the growing trends towards cooking from scratch and healthy eating.

The report also reveals that the ready meals market has suffered slightly from the growing trends towards cooking from scratch and healthy eating. 49% of respondents agree that cooking from scratch is often just as quick as preparing ready meals. Despite this, ready meals still remain a convenient option for many. 35% of consumers say that they eat ready meals as a last minute stop gap, while the same number claim to eat ready meals when they are too tired to cook.

70% of consumers eat frozen potatoes of one variety or another at least once a week. Despite high-profile marketing campaigns by companies like McCain, which seek to open up the market to other frozen potato products, chips are still by far the most popular form of frozen potato, accounting for 70% of the market share.

Convenience is a key driver of frozen potato sales, with over two thirds of respondents describing them as such. Men are most likely to agree that frozen potatoes are convenient, whilst women over 40 are most likely to consider them to be a good standby.

Frozen Vegetables

83% of customers mainly buy fresh vegetables; frozen vegetables are then used to supplement these purchases, with 73% of consumers stocking frozen vegetables as a back up or buying them when a fresh version is not available. On this trend, James McCoy continues: “Companies have a long way to go to convince consumers that frozen vegetables are as healthy or appetising as their fresh counterparts. Consumers are clearly harbouring reservations to do with texture and nutritional value.”

Retailer Own-label and Brands

The report also gives a detailed brand analysis across the UK market. In the chilled foods industry, retailer own-label products account for 95% of sales, with Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury the biggest own label brands. Manufacturers such as Weight Watchers and Annabel Karmel focus in on specialised areas of the chilled food market such as health foods, vegetarian options and children’s foods.

In the frozen potato market McCain and Aunt Bessie’s are on top – McCain’s success perhaps owing to high levels of promotion and brand visibility. Weight Watchers remains the largest frozen dessert brand, offering consumers a way to indulge without the need to feel guilty.

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