Farmers market
The frozen food segment is pressured by fresh foods, according to Packaged Facts.

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Fresh foods are slowly putting a freeze on growth in frozen foods, Packaged Facts said in its report, “Frozen Foods in the US: Hot Meals, Sides, and Snacks.” Growing demand for fresh foods free from preservatives has challenged frozen foods of all kinds.

The frozen foods segment is being pressured from several fronts, including farmers markets and expanded produce sections in grocery stores. Even convenience stores have put a new focus on providing fresh foods by expanding their fresh offerings, Packaged Facts said.

But the good news is that frozen foods identified as natural and/or organic appear to be having a more positive experience than frozen foods in general.

“Many consumers have come to believe that only fresh foods offer real nutritional value,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “These consumers perceive frozen dinners as a remnant of a past dining era in which these products were valued more for their convenience than their healthiness.
“Unfortunately, the fact that frozen foods can potentially offer the same nutritional value as fresh or refrigerated foods is simply lost on consumers holding this anti-frozen foods view point.”

Packaged Facts noted that frozen foods sometimes include preservatives such as potassium sorbate, calcium propionate and sodium tripolyphosphate among their ingredients. These ingredients raise red flags among label-conscious consumers who are seeking products that are “natural.”

Additionally, some of the diet-oriented frozen products that have been highly successful in previous years because of their low calorie counts are now coming under scrutiny for their high salt contents, another ingredient of concern to health-conscious consumers, Packaged Facts said.

Packaged Facts estimates that sales of dinners/entrées, pizzas, side dishes, and appetizers/snacks categories will increase to $23 billion in 2019 from $22 billion in 2014. Leading growth will be frozen side dishes and appetizers/snacks categories.