Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —
The American Frozen Food Institute’s most recent report on Frozen Food Sales Amid COVID-19 documents what many of us know; more people than ever are preparing meals at home. Nearly 90% of consumers are eating more meals at home vs. pre-pandemic or with 73% of consumers taking more time than usual to prepare meals at home. This includes older Millennials and Gen X, who have been known to shy away from the frozen food isle. In this age of convenience, buying, cooking and freezing foods is new territory for some consumers. Consider this stat from Google Trends; the search term ‘can you freeze’ climbed from an interest index of 19 to an index of 100 in a matter of days. (Yes, you can freeze eggs but not in the shell.)
Many frozen categories that have enjoyed high household penetration have become even more popular, including frozen vegetables, meat/poultry and pizza. In some cases, these purchases were first time trials, with high percentages for frozen meat/poultry, sides, fruit and entrees. Both single-serve and multi-serve entrées enjoyed double-digit percentages of first-time buyers.
Of course, the winners in the frozen food isle have arrived at the expense of others. Restaurant sales are in turmoil with reports of industry revenue dropping to 1995 levels. The only bright spot seems to be digitally ordering home delivery, up 60% over this time last year.
Most refrigerated warehousing companies have a mixture of retail, wholesale and foodservice customers. Like Hanson Logistics, they find themselves adjusting inbound and outbound schedules, pallet positions and the moving target of inventory requirements. Warehouse workers and truck drivers have become essential workers; a designation that’s not new to Hanson Teammates.
With all the uncertainty in the world, gathering around the dinner table to enjoy a home cooked, heated frozen or just delivered meal is an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings with family members and socially distant friends. It’s an ideal time for reassurance and hope for the future, and that’s a good thing.