label and free-from, dietary restrictions,
organic or reduced calories—retailers just
need to ensure that consumers are aware.
“A retailer that can offer items that appeal
to a more fragmented and less homogeneous
market are likely to benefit more,” Perkins says.
“Consumers are increasingly adventurous.”
Cooking Up natUral
Schwan’s Consumer Brands conducted
research on what consumers are looking for
from a frozen foods purchase.
“The research revealed that convenience,
ease of use and life stage are top reasons shoppers turn to frozen foods,” says Diane Harper,
VP, consumer insights and analytics at the
Bloomington, Minn.-based Schwan’s.
Though convenience is one of the top factors driving consumers to purchase frozen
foods, it is not the most important anymore.
“A growing trend in natural and organics has
raised consumer expectations for frozen foods
to also offer natural and organic alternatives,”
“While consumers appreciate the con-
venience of frozen foods, some view it as a
compromise to healthier alternatives,” affirms
Harper. “Consumers can feel guilty at times
using frozen meal solutions as attitudes shift
to more fresh and home cooked meals. They
also perceive fresh as being healthier.”
Frozen foods manufacturers are actively
working to challenge this perception by
actively working to clean up their acts with
healthy, real foods and wholesome alternatives.
“There seem to be no shortage of consumer
studies that show the consumer who buys
clean, healthy frozen options is also the con-
sumer who has a higher average basket spend,”
says Perkins. “We know that consumer spend-
ing on natural and organics is growing in all
segments of the store, so it stands to reason
that the shopper who is biased to seek out nat-
ural and organics will have a positive percep-
tion of stores that cater to their demands in all
categories, including frozen.”
Today’s consumer is label-savvy and avoids
purchasing frozen items before carefully eval-
uating the ingredients and nutritional infor-
mation. Specifically, simpler labels are high on
Millennials’ list of demands.
“We have come to understand that
Millennials in general are influencing our
food culture,” says Giselle Restrepo, Schwan’s
senior manager of consumer insights and analytics. “They have the highest standards for
their food, demanding authenticity and transparency so that they can feel better about what
they serve family and friends.”
bowling them over
Frozen food manufacturers have not missed
out on the “bowl” trend going around the