The UK frozen food market grew by an estimated 2% in value terms through 2012, to hit a valuation of £4.7 billion by the end of the year.
In general, the UK frozen food market has been adversely affected by global inflation and the higher costs of food and food processing. Meat in particular has become expensive and this has meant that margins are much tighter in this category than previously.
Food-price inflation has been a key issue affecting the entire food market, and the frozen foods sector has not been immune to such price rises, with some of the growth in the sector being explained by this.
However, faced with rising food prices, consumers are likely to turn to frozen foods as an alternative owing to the competitive pricing that is possible in the frozen foods sector.
The notion of consumer education is a major trend in the market; companies are increasingly reaching out to consumers and letting them know about the benefits of frozen foods, such as the higher vitamin content of frozen vegetables over fresh.
This is to overcome any lingering negative perceptions consumers may have about frozen foods and draw in new consumers to the sector, thus increasing volume sales.
Frozen meat and poultry products have been the strongest performers of the sector and continue to show an impressive 10.3% value yoy growth. Combined with to a 2.8% volume yoy growth, the latest figures represent a healthy year for frozen meat and poultry producers.
However, frozen burger sales are down by 43% and frozen ready meals by 13% in the wake of the horsemeat contamination scandal despite consumers suggesting they would be happy to eat the product in future, new figures from the UK suggest.
Iglo Birds Eye Frozen Foods is expected to lead the United Kingdom frozen food market, with 13% share of value sales in 2012. Birds Eye has one of the widest ranges of frozen foods available in the UK market, including fish, vegetables, chicken, red meat, frozen meals, pies, potatoes and desserts.
Birds Eye makes its branding message clear by stating "Fresh Frozen Food". The word "fresh" appears repeatedly on its packaging and on its website. Although the company holds a dominating lead in this sector, it has suffered repeated falls in value share as a result of the encroachment of private label in this area.
For more information on the UK frozen food market, see the latest research: UK Frozen Food Market
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