Report after report predicts big growth for the frozen food market. And you don’t need FTSE100 levels of commercial acumen to posit that what’s good for frozen food manufacturers is also a boon for packaging manufacturers. But what’s spurring the market growth? And how might savvy frozen food packaging manufacturers show a little sangfroid to drive further gains in the run up to 2020 and beyond?
A trip to your local supermarket is rarely fuss-free. But sometimes it feels like you’d have an easier time getting to the front of a chart-topping singer’s live concert than scrambling to pick up a bag of curly fries and some chicken dippers. Yes if you’ve been feeling like the frozen aisles are getting a little populous lately, your eyes do not deceive you. The frozen food market is growing - and shows no signs of slowing down.
From Beijing to Brooklyn: the frozen food market is growing
A new report from global research specialist Research & Markets forecasts the frozen food market in Europe to grow at a CAGR of 3.87% between 2016 and 2020. Meanwhile a separate report from Hexa Research states that North America has the largest frozen food market, while the fastest growing markets will be found in India and China due to the increasing growth of disposable income and urbanization.
What’s fuelling market growth?
There are number factors fuelling the growth of the frozen food market. Chief among them is the fact that people are increasingly time-poor and are choosing meals that are quick and convenient. There has also been a worldwide growth of working women - meal preparation still heavily gendered in some western households and the norm in many countries - as well as the aforementioned rise of urbanization and growth of disposable income in emerging economies.
Convenience reigns supreme
Packaging manufacturers have a number of considerations when it comes to frozen food. The design should be eye-catching, all necessary nutritional, ingredient, traceability and best before data must be included and the packaging material must be non-reactive to the food while durable enough to go the distance in the freezer.
But if the primary growth driver of the frozen food market is hectic lifestyles and a perceived lack of time, packaging manufacturers must be alert to the consumer’s need for convenience. After all, many types of frozen food - particularly ready meals - simply need to be heated to be cooked.
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Packaging as a product innovator
The convenience of a frozen ready meal can be amplified by its packaging. Heat-resistant trays, for example, are already commonplace in the market. But we can expect to see increasing proliferation of more innovative packaging, such as microwaveable bowls or plates or even edible packaging? Packaging trays can be designed to keep the constituent parts of a meal separate - rice and meat, for example - and use of antimicrobial packaging and time-temperature indicators can help to provide assurances to the consumer that their product is safe. It’s likely that packaging manufacturers who can bring creativity to the need for convenience will gain market share and help to drive further growth in the frozen food market. And, lest we forget, eco-friendly packaging is high on the consumer wishlist too.
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Are there any challenges?
Every market has its challenges and the frozen food sector is no different. There remains resistance to frozen ready meals from many consumers on the grounds that they are unhealthy and totemic of laziness. Both food manufacturers and food packaging manufacturers must work together to find ways to overcome the barriers to purchase and present frozen ready meals as a viable option for health-conscious consumers.
Pushing the packaging envelope...
As the frozen food market grows, it will be exciting to see how packaging manufacturers innovate to keep hungry consumers filling those busy frozen aisles.
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