Frozen Foods, a Hot Commodity

Frozen foods across several segments continue to be hot commodities.

A recent report from the American Frozen Food Institute in collaboration with the Food Marketing Institute shows that frozen foods in 2018 delivered both strong dollar and unit sales gains, with dinners/entrees, ice cream, pizza, seafood and plain vegetables setting the pace.

A separate study from the NPD Group echoed the performance, adding that frozen foods accounted for 9.8 billion in-home eating occasions, while the Specialty Food Association identified frozen foods as the category with the most compelling gains within specialty retail from 2016 to 2018, led by better-for-you desserts, including premium and plant-based options.

“Demographic shifts, like millennials moving into the busiest times of their lives juggling spouses, kids and a career, are fueling a greater need for the convenience that frozen foods offer,” said David Portalatin, vice president and industry advisor for NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. “Manufacturers are also doing their part in increasing interest in frozen foods by innovating around contemporary food values and emerging flavor trends to provide convenience.”

NPD Group cited three recent frozen innovations emanating from larger CPG brands, which are “finding new ways to present frozen foods,” the company said. They include:

  1. Stouffer’s debut of frozen meal kits that feed an entire family.
  2. Green Giant’s line of heat-and-eat, plant-based protein bowls.
  3. Tyson Foods’ better-for-you air-fried chicken strips, breakfast sandwiches and spiralized vegetables.

Click through for a look at six frozen snacks and entrees that have launched in 2019.

Image: Shutterstock

1. Healthy Choice

In August, Healthy Choice Grain-Free Power Bowls from Conagra Brands Inc. followed up on the brand’s 2018 launch of breakfast-oriented Power Bowls with four new grain-free options, all offering 18 to 20 grams of protein and 5 to 7 grams of fiber per bowl. Each is grain- and gluten-free, providing a nutrient-dense combination of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, lean proteins and riced cauliflower, according to the company. They come in Spicy Beef Teriyaki, Basil Pesto Chicken, Spicy Black Bean & Chicken and Chicken Marinara varieties and are available for an SRP of $3.99. The Power Bowls line also includes Morning, Vegan and Vegetarian meals.

Photograph courtesy of Healthy Choice

2. Bob Evans

Bob Evans’ Family Classics line expanded its portfolio to include two protein-rich pasta meals: Italian Sausage Marinara Pasta and Beef Stroganoff Pasta. Both varieties contain less than 300 calories per serving. Italian Sausage Marinara Pasta contains 11 grams of protein per serving, while Beef Stroganoff Pasta contains 14 grams of protein.

Photograph courtesy of Bob Evans

3. White Castle

In March, White Castle added a Turkey Slider to its retail lineup. The new offering features a Butterball-branded all-natural white meat turkey patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, served on a White Castle signature bun. The Turkey Slider comes in a four-pack.

Photograph courtesy of White Castle

4. Caulipower

At the start of 2019, Caulipower launched Grain Free and Original Cauliflower Tortillas featuring chickpea flour with 7 grams of protein and 8 net carbs per tortilla. Caulipower tortillas are a gluten-free solution for quesadillas, burritos, tacos, wraps and more, the company said, with fewer calories, less fat, more fiber and vitamin C. Cauliflower is the first ingredient. Tortillas join Caulipower’s suite of products featuring frozen cauliflower-based pizzas and crusts and more.

Photograph courtesy of Caulipower

5. Gardein

Single Serve Bowls from Gardein are plant-based meal options prepared in minutes. Available in Italian Saus’age & Pasta, Chick’n Fajita, Orange Beefless and Teriyaki Chick’n, each variety is vegan, made with 100% non-GMO ingredients and contains 14 to 17 grams of protein per serving.

Photograph courtesy of Gardein

6. Lean Cuisine

Lean Cuisine has launched Origins, meatless comfort dishes made with at least 70% organic ingredients. The varieties in the line—including seven new recipes and seven updated dishes from the Lean Cuisine Marketplace line—feature on-trend ingredients in innovative ways, such as cauliflower as an alternative to mashed potatoes and lasagna layered with feta cheese and butternut squash.

Photograph courtesy of Lean Cuisine