The future of frozen

by Dan Malovany
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Nearly one-quarter (24%) of U.S. consumers either “strongly believe” or “tend to believe” that freezing food compromises its nutritional quality, according to a survey by research firm Datamonitor. Although the information is a few years old, Tom Vierhile, Datamonitor’s innovation insights director, still thinks that perception holds true today.

“For the future, we think frozen baked goods makers are going to have to step up their game to build consumer trust and dispel the negative image consumers sometimes have toward frozen food,” he noted.

Younger consumers — especially millennials — are not enamored with offerings in the freezer case. According to a survey by Omaha-based ConAgra, he noted, more than half of the people who buy frozen foods are 45 and older. That’s a challenge as younger consumers control a larger share of spending on food. They tend to consider themselves “foodies” and are less trusting than older shoppers. They want to know where the ingredients in products come from and how a product is made, Mr. Vierhile said.

“Millennials tend to see frozen food as just another form of processed food,” he explained. “The frozen food industry hasn’t done a great job of trying to portray frozen food as a fresh type of food. That can have ramifications going forward.”
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