Frozen convenience food trends in the spotlight

Frozen food products are as popular as ever. Dr Sabine Eichner, Managing Director at the German Frozen Foods Institute, talked to us about sector trends, developments and statistics

What changes are taking place in the convenience market?

Frozen foods are excellent convenience products that have been very successful in the out-of-home market for years. They offer various levels of convenience, from peeled vegetables to premium finger food. The top-selling frozen food products are currently frozen bakery products, which currently account for 34% of total sales, followed by frozen meat at 15% and frozen vegetables at just under 12%. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of products, from basic snacks to in-store and company restaurant foods, and even high-end cuisine solutions. Freshness and convenience are two strong arguments in favour of frozen foods that are supported by the growth statistics for high-convenience products.

What challenges are associated with the development of new products?

When frozen food manufacturers develop new products and concepts they always try to cater to the latest food and out-of-home trends. ‘Snackification’ is a trend that is transforming the traditional three-meals-a-day dining culture. People are adapting their eating habits to today’s faster, flexible and on-the-go lifestyles, which is driving demand for healthy and delicious snack foods. Organic products and healthy eating concepts, as well as regional origin and sustainability, are becoming increasingly important, and the range of convenience products is gaining in diversity and depth. Commercial kitchens are going digital and we are seeing an increasing number of smart appliances that have simple settings and are easy to operate for the fast and uncomplicated preparation of frozen snacks, meal components or entire meals.

What convenience trends will we be seeing in the future?

Convenience foods are a sector trend that is here to stay. Over time stronger links with other trends such as premium quality, sustainability, healthy eating and individuality will be established. Many of today’s frozen products have an artisan look – from exclusive frozen burgers to trendy banana and blackcurrant cakes.

Also, as a result of the fact that restaurants, hotels and canteens – as well as bakers and snack bars – are installing ultra-modern, smart kitchen equipment, it will be necessary to adapt frozen products to the new digital kitchen technology, or develop fully harmonised catering concepts. This will maximise preparation efficiency, simplify work steps and kitchen processes, and yet still provide guests with a delicious dining experience.