The global frozen food market size was valued at USD 265.13 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 547.66 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.4% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Food products stored at low temperatures and used for an extended time are referred to as frozen food. The product market consists of various food items, such as soup, ready meals, fruits and vegetables, potatoes, meat and poultry, and seafood. Packaged ready-to-eat foods, bakery items, snacks, and desserts are also included in frozen ready meals. Major consumers of frozen food goods, including frozen fruits and vegetables, potatoes, and non-vegetarian items, include hotels, caterers, restaurants, and fast-food franchises. Frozen meat, poultry, and seafood are among North America and Europe's most popular grocery items. Europe is where frozen desserts and bread goods are most popular.
Growing Demand for Convenience Food
Packaged edible products' convenience drives the processed food sector and draws customers of all ages. Consumers' preference for convenience and RTE foods has sped up market transformation internationally. The key driver of demand for frozen food products is that this form of food requires less work and preparation time than cooked foods. In addition, rising consumer disposable income is another crucial factor for the market's growth in the next years. The World Bank estimates that cities will be home to two-thirds of the world's population. In the future, nearly a billion people will reside in urban areas worldwide. Therefore, the growing population and busy lifestyle would fuel the acceptance of frozen food over the forecast period.
Busy Lifestyles and Time Constraints
People have less time to prepare lavish meals from scratch due to the rising demands of employment, school, and personal commitments. Given their speedy preparation, frozen foods offer a practical answer. Customers can greatly reduce cooking and meal preparation time by removing a frozen meal or ingredient from the freezer and heating it.
Busy schedules necessitate consuming several meals on the go, whether at the office, in transit, or while on the road. Frozen foods such as sandwiches, wraps, and snacks meet this demand for quick and portable meal options. For people with busy schedules, they offer a straightforward and quick alternative because they are simple to reheat or enjoy right away. Further, customers can access various meal options without going grocery shopping frequently or spending a lot of time preparing meals.
Environmental Issues and Sustainable Packaging
Frozen food depends largely on packaging materials to preserve product quality and safety. However, the rising usage of packaging materials does bring up environmental issues, such as plastic waste and carbon emissions from transit and production. For manufacturers of frozen foods, balancing product protection and environmental concerns is a problem due to consumer desire for more environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging options.
Regulation Compliance and Food Safety Standards
The frozen food industry must adhere to stringent food safety regulations and standards to ensure product quality and safety. Manufacturers may encounter difficulties adhering to standards on labeling specifications, storage requirements, and traceability, especially if they operate in numerous regions with different regulations. Non-compliance can result in recalls, damage to one's reputation, and legal ramifications.
Growing Demand for Organic and Natural Frozen Foods
The demand for organic and natural frozen meals has significantly increased in the worldwide global market. Consumers' growing choice of healthier options and the need for clarity and clean labels drive this trend. Organic and natural frozen meals are thought to be devoid of synthetic additives and genetically engineered components, harmonizing with the dietary preferences of health-conscious people. In addition, the frozen food industry has benefited from the organic food market's wider expansion, increasing the availability of organic and natural products across various categories. These goods offer a greater selection of handy frozen meal options and accommodate dietary preferences and constraints such as vegetarianism, veganism, gluten intolerance, and lactose intolerance.
Organic and natural frozen meals are more expensive because consumers believe they are more sustainable and of higher quality. Manufacturers adapt to this rising demand by developing new products and broadening their product lines in the organic and natural market while maintaining compliance with certifications and criteria set by authorities. The market for organic and natural frozen foods is positioned for continued expansion. It offers potential for industry participants to meet changing consumer preferences as consumers increasingly emphasize health and clean eating.
The global frozen market is bifurcated into product categories, product types, users, and distribution channels.
Based on the product categories, the global market is bifurcated into Ready-to-cook, Ready-to-Drink, Ready-to-Eat, and others.
The Ready-to-Eat product category dominates the global market and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 4.8% over the forecast period. The forecast period is expected to witness a rise in demand for ready-to-eat foods due to convenience, speed, low cost, and availability. Additionally, many ready-to-eat meals are preserved by cutting-edge freezing, refrigeration, or packaging methods. This preservation allows them to stay fresh and tasty longer without losing their nutritional content. Consumers can stock up on these items, which helps reduce waste and makes long-term storage possible.
Due to a rise in convenience and time-saving reasons, demand for ready-to-cook meals has been increasing. Similarly, customers' need for convenient and healthy foods has grown because of their busy lifestyles and decreased frequency of visits to supermarkets and grocery stores. A packed or prepared food item, dish, or meal ready to consume requires no additional preparation. Foods that are ready to cook don't need to be further prepared, like sliced, diced, or chopped. This implies that they can be eaten uncooked if necessary.
Based on product type, the global market is bifurcated into frozen ready meals, frozen seafood and meat products, frozen snacks and bakery, and frozen vegetables and fruits.
The vegetables and fruit segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% over the forecast period. In the frozen food manufacturing market, the fruits and vegetables subsegment is anticipated to grow at a lucrative rate because of the long storage life and highly nutrient-rich food products. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often selected at their peak of ripeness when they contain the most nutrients. Vegetables are typically washed, blanched, sliced, frozen, and packaged within a few hours following harvesting. Blanching can significantly impact the texture of fruits; hence, it is usually avoided. Ascorbic acid (a type of vitamin C) or sugar can be used as a substitute to delay spoilage.
Based on users, the global frozen food market is segmented into the retail and food service industries.
The food service segment is the highest shareholder in the global market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.1% over the forecast period. This is because this segment is a significant consumer of frozen foods. The food service industry includes hotels, fast food restaurants, pay-and-take restaurants, catering companies, and other businesses. Frozen food is gaining popularity in the restaurant industry because it can be stored and used for longer, reducing administrative costs.
Based on distribution channels, the global market is bifurcated into online retail, specialty stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets/hypermarkets.
Offline channels like convenience stores dominate the global market. The offline market for frozen food is the biggest in the world due to its many benefits. Examples of offline distribution channels include supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, grocers, and local businesses. The ease of visiting multiple physical stores will support the market's future growth. Due to the global increase in digitization, the online distribution channel is estimated to have the highest CAGR over the forecast period. Businesses in developed and developing countries have had to modify their retail strategy to compete in the digital arena as e-commerce sites have evolved.
Based on region, the global market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Europe is the most significant global frozen food market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.80% over the forecast period. This is due to the region's growing vegan population, which is predicted to increase frozen vegetable sales. High consumer spending power, economic stability, and changes in food preferences are some of the key growth factors in the area. Additionally, the demand for ready-to-eat breakfast products has skyrocketed in popularity due to impulsive lives. The region is also experiencing significant expansion in the worldwide market due to consumer adoption of digital retailing platforms. The rising number of cold chain facilities in various emerging nations also aids the expansion of the regional market.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period. One of the largest frozen food markets is anticipated to develop in Asia-Pacific. Developing nations like India and China are benefiting from an increase in refrigeration facilities in retail stores and an increase in the availability of frozen food through online retailers. In numerous Southeast Asian countries, urbanization is predicted to lead to a major market expansion.
North America is estimated to hold the third-largest market share since consumers there are well-informed about the benefits of such vegetables. In addition, the FDA has implemented several restrictions that reduce the use of dangerous compounds like trans fats. Prewashed, precut, and frozen food is more convenient than fresh because it can be taken with you and thawed as needed. Thus, there is a growing demand for frozen foods among consumers in North America.
In the Middle East and Africa, the fastest-expanding global markets in the region are those in Brazil and Argentina. The market is anticipated to grow quickly and develop into a hub for frozen foods during the next five years due to the simple accessibility of raw materials. Frozen seafood is one of South Africa's top exports to other nations. Consumption in the domestic market is now low but is predicted to rise in the near future. South Africans love their white and red frozen meat, but demand is expected to drop dramatically as the country shifts its focus to seafood.
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