NEW YORK — Thanks to the success of frozen pizza, handheld breakfast food and prepared vegetables the market for frozen convenience foods will grow 2% by the end of the year to reach sales of $17 billion in 2010, according to market researcher Packaged Facts.

In addition, Packaged Facts said in its “Frozen Convenience Foods in the U.S.” report that the category has the potential to increase 10% to $19 billion by 2015.

“There is considerable activity in the frozen convenience food market and ample opportunities for growth within certain retail sectors and market niches,” said Dan Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “So while we do not anticipate substantial overall growth, we do expect some segments and individual marketers to grow considerably over the next five years.”

The frozen food market in general will grow as marketers in other categories compete with the fresh convenience food market, restaurant takeout and meals prepared from scratch.

Increased competition from fresh prepared foods was the reason frozen convenience sales growth was driven down during the 2005-10 period, and the specific products that suffered did so because they are seen as less fresh and more expensive alternatives to cooking at home. The frozen pizza and handheld breakfast categories grew significantly when competing against restaurants and other food service outlets as they positioned themselves as low-cost alternatives to dining out, Packaged Facts said.

Overall, success in the frozen convenience category may be attributed to consumer lifestyles, Americans’ growing concern with health and wellness and higher nutritional demands, demographic shifts, growing interest in world cuisines and the recession. Freshness and quality also play a key role in the market’s success. Frozen food marketers have been experimenting with Indian, Japanese and Middle Eastern flavors and making fusion flavors such as Mexican-style, Thai-topped and Jamaican Jerk pizzas.