KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Millennials and Generation Z are consumers seeking convenience and health benefits from the foods they purchase and represent a promising market for food companies, especially those in the frozen foods segment.

Households headed by adults under the age 25 are 29 percent more likely to eat shelf-to-microwave dinners and 26 percent more likely to eat frozen breakfast entrees/sandwiches, according to the report “Looking ahead to Gen Z: Demographic patterns and spending trends” released in February by Packaged Facts, Rockville, Maryland. These adults also have a 23 percent greater likelihood of eating frozen TV dinners and are 10 percent more likely to eat dry packaged dinners, dinner mixes and kits.

“Seemingly perpetually in motion, ubiquitously surrounded by limitless smartphone entertainment options and frequently willing to work multiple jobs or side gigs, many Gen Z young adults are attracted to easy-to-prepare meals as well as snacking,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Therefore, there exists ample opportunity for food marketers of frozen prepared meals, canned soups, potato chips and other canned and packaged prepared food such as salads and desserts to convert adults under the age of 25 into loyal lifelong customers.”

New York-based CB Insights, a tech market intelligence platform, listed frozen foods as one of 12 industries that will thrive thanks to millennials. In 2017, millennials spent an average of 9 percent more on frozen foods per trip to the grocery store than households of other demographics, according to CB Insights. In 2018, the total volume of frozen foods sold in the United States increased for the first time in five years, driven largely by millennials and people with children.

Millennials appreciate convenience as they often eat on the go, according to CB Insights. They seek healthy frozen food and are more likely to prefer organic food and plant-based food.

David Portalatin, vice president and industry adviser for The NPD Group Inc., Port Washington, New York, said frozen food is gaining relevance among younger people who are career-minded and forming families.

“They value convenience, but they also value purity in the food supply, and they are increasingly seeing frozen as a pathway to that purity,” he said March 28 in Chicago at the inaugural Trends and Innovations Seminar, sponsored by Sosland Publishing Company and presented by MEAT+POULTRY’s sister publication, Food Business News.

US frozen food sales grew in dollar sales, up 2.6 percent, and units, up 2.3 percent, in 2018, according to the report “The Power of Frozen 2019” released by the American Frozen Food Institute, Arlington, Virginia, and the Food Marketing Institute, Washington.