CHICAGO – Frozen foods have come a long way these past few years. With frozen food makers revising their offerings to include dishes like Sweet and Spicy Harissa Meatballs and Mango Edamame Power Bowls, Americans are gobbling up the convenience and simplicity of frozen meals, the Washington Post reports.
“Frozen food manufacturers have figured out that, ‘hey, we can give consumers a path to having authentic and wholesome ingredient meals at home with a high level of convenience,'” said David Portalatin, food industry adviser for The NPD Group. “Let’s give them the clean label, organic or non-GMO. Let’s put the quality back in.”
While meal-kit companies have been struggling a bit lately, analysts with RBC Capital Market posited that “Isn’t a frozen dinner just a meal-kit that costs less without the work?” Its report found that the frozen food market has seen a resurgence for the first time since 2013, with a small uptick in growth since January.
“We all love to purchase fruits and vegetables at their peak of freshness … but often our lives are busy and it’s challenging to manage the meals that we need to prepare for our family,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, a senior advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Freezing can be a great complement to fresh foods so that people can have what they need on hand, and then it’s available when they need it.”
The RBC report put Conagra Brands, with brands Banquet, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s, as leading the change in frozen foods. The company stopped offering such steep discounts, upped the protein levels and updated packaging.
Millennials desire to eat at home using easy and simple solutions, which frozen food companies could capture with innovative and fresh offerings. “They want to eat at home. They want a pathway to some form of purity in the quality of the food at home,” Portalatin said. “But yet they still want convenience because we’re still busy, we’re still in the career and family formation life stage, and we still value convenience.”