ARLINGTON, Va. – According to Nielsen, annual U.S. sales of frozen food reached $53 billion—a 1.4% increase from the last year—and volume growing this year for the first time in five years. In 2017, millennial homes spend 9% more than average households per trip on frozen foods.
Experts attribute the boost in sales and volume to millennials. It’s a convenient and less expensive option, ideal for singles and a way to control portions.
“The average millennial doesn’t have time to make a full meal with fresh meat and produce,” said Dewey Warner, an analyst at market researcher Euromonitor. “More and more they’re seeing these products as viable options.”
Among Eggo waffles and Banquet frozen dinners is Nestle, offering Lean Cuisine, Stoufer’s and DiGiorno Pizza. Nestle has an expansive portfolio of foods and beverages, but frozen meals and pizza accounted for 14% of Nestle USA’s $27 billion sales in 2016.
Just three years ago, the company kick started a project to remake its frozen food lineup in an effort to appeal to busy, health-conscious adults in their 20s-30s. But it didn’t quite have the manufacturing capacity to meet demand. To catch up with competitors, Nestle expects to roll out its frozen bowl brand Wildscape to 3,000 stores in the U.S.