NFRA Announces Winners of Inaugural Penguin Pitch Contest

Big Mozz crowned NFRA’s 2024 Emerging Brand of the Year

HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 11, 2024) — The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) recently announced the winners of its first-ever Penguin Pitch: Emerging Brand Contest. Designed to identify the next big name within the frozen or refrigerated aisle, the competition vetted entries down to eight top finalists, who impressed judges with innovative products and creative approaches.

The competition included a diverse range of entries, with a judging panel tasting and evaluating samples of the following finalists:

  • Armored Fresh: Oat milk sliced American cheese that easily melts.
  • Big Mozz: Offering a fresh take on mozzarella sticks with a cleaner label and delicious taste.
  • Laoban Dumplings & Wow Bao: Both offering restaurant-quality frozen bao buns, capitalizing on the steamed dumpling trend.
  • Lopaus Point: Showcasing frozen blueberry waffles with an emphasis on wholesome ingredients.
  • MingsBings: Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai’s Supreme Pizza Bings, a unique twist on pizza rolls.
  • Mona’s Curryations: Authentic yet easy to prepare Chicken Tikka Masala entrée. 
  • Unlimeat: Plant-based Korean BBQ sliced “beef” for a plant-forward option.

Taking home the “Most Unique Promotional Campaign” award is MingsBings, praised for its crispy and flavorful taste, great size, and innovative fusion meal solutions. Its multi-serving packaging and diverse cooking options, along with engaging marketing tactics, impressed the judges. Lopaus Point’s focus on wholesome ingredients and attractive packaging earned them the “Creative Packaging” win. For the “Most Disruptive Product” award, Wow Bao takes the win for its buns’ restaurant-ready appeal and authentic taste. The Grand Prize, awarded for ”Overall Excellence,” goes to Big Mozz for their giant-sized, authentically crafted, made with clean ingredients, mozzarella sticks.

“The Penguin Pitch is a unique way for us to celebrate the industry’s constant innovation, while recognizing emerging brands looking to make a big impact,” said Tricia Greyshock, NFRA president and CEO. “These products represent a taste of the future, offering options that consumers can really get excited about.”

In winning top honors, Big Mozz will receive a coveted table spot at Café NFRA during this year’s NFRA Convention, October 5-8, 2024, in National Harbor, Md. This unique opportunity will allow Big Mozz to showcase its product directly to industry retail leaders and decision-makers, positioning them for further success in the frozen foods market. To experience Big Mozz at the NFRA Convention this fall, register today at nfraconvention.org.

###

About National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA)

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. NFRA sponsors national promotions ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen (January), March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties (June/July); and provides consumer information such as food safety guidelines, meal preparation tips, recipes and sweepstakes opportunities through its Easy Home Meals consumer website and social media properties. To learn more, visit nfraweb.org.

The Draw of the Dairy Aisle: 2 out of 3 U.S. Adults Say They’re Tempted in the Dairy Aisle, Often Buying Something That Isn’t On Their List

Innovation and Health Benefits Drive Consumer Purchases, with Gen Z and Millennials Leading the Trend

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 7, 2024 — Whether looking for new products, impulse buying or seeking meal inspiration, nearly 2 in 3 U.S. adults (65%) say they often purchase unplanned items in the dairy aisle, according to a recent survey by the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). This tendency is even higher among Gen Z and millennials (74% each). More than 2,000 consumers were surveyed, providing insight into U.S. adult consumers’ dairy aisle attitudes and behaviors related to health benefits, inclusion of dairy alternatives, premium brand propensities and more.

To view the multimedia assets and survey information visit: https://interactive.4media-group.com/nfra-june-dairy-month-2024

Health Benefits and Dairy Aisle Delights

When thinking of health benefits, options from the dairy aisle stand out alongside veggies, fruits and lean meats. Survey results show that eggs (74%), yogurt (67%) and cheese (63%) are top choices for health-conscious consumers due to their macronutrient and protein content. Over half of U.S. adults (52%) say both macronutrients and calories are equally important when checking nutrition labels, with 81% agreeing that dairy products like yogurt or cottage cheese provide an easy high-protein breakfast.

“Consumers are increasingly focusing on nutrition and the diverse options in the dairy aisle, ensuring that meals cooked at home are not only delicious but also packed with health benefits,” says Tricia Greyshock, NFRA’s president and CEO. “Innovative products, including a growing range of dairy alternatives, continue to enhance the choices available to families, making it easier than ever to enjoy nutritious and varied meals.”

As with conventional products from the dairy aisle, U.S. consumers view dairy alternatives as healthy too. Nearly 3 in 5 U.S. adults (57%) describe dairy alternatives, such as almond milk or oat milk, as “healthy.” This view increases with Gen Z adults (65%) and millennials (61%). But what’s important to note is that it’s not one or the other. Some consumers have flexed to new shopping and food consumption habits.

Trending Flexitarian Habits Bridge the Dietary Divide

Adopting a flexitarian approach to dairy consumption appears to be a common practice for many adults, who frequently purchase both traditional dairy products and alternatives, like almond and soy milk. This trend is particularly strong among Gen Z and millennials, with 71% and 72% respectively engaging in this behavior. Flexitarianism, a diet that primarily consists of plant-based foods while allowing for the occasional inclusion of animal products, is gaining popularity. During the same trip to the grocery store, 61% of U.S. adults say they often purchase dairy and dairy alternatives together. Parents exhibit similar behavior, with 70% of those with children living in their household—most of whom are millennials—reporting the same pattern. This shift is likely shaped by the availability of diverse dairy alternatives and the evolving shopping habits of younger generations as they assume the role of primary shoppers for their households.

A Preference for Premium Brands

Survey findings illustrate a notable trend in consumers’ tendency to seek out brand-name and premium brands, particularly when it comes to yogurt, cheese and butter. Nearly half of U.S. adults (45%) prefer brand-name yogurt, while 39% do the same for cheese and butter. Furthermore, 40% of consumers often opt for premium brand yogurt, with cheese (37%) and butter (34%) following closely.

Shopping the dairy aisle – whether in-store or digitally for pick-up or home delivery – offers a wide array of options for great meals and other treats at home.

Have Some Fun in the Kitchen and Celebrate National Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month and to celebrate inspiration found in the dairy aisle, Jamie Gwen, celebrity chef and author, shares recipes covering breakfast delights to dessert, and everything in between.

“The variety of choices in the dairy aisle offer options to suit nearly every taste and every food occasion,” says Gwen. “It’s also exciting to explore new ways of making favorites like lasagna that can also be a great way to get in the kitchen solo or with the whole family and have more fun cooking at home.”

With fun in mind, be sure to update your shopping list with dairy aisle delights and try some of these new recipes this week.

National Dairy Month is the perfect time for consumers to branch out and try a new product or recipe from the dairy aisle. NFRA’s month-long celebration includes unique recipes, informative tips and even a $10,000 Sweepstakes! Participants may enter at EasyHomeMeals.com from now until June 30 for a chance to win one of 18 $500 grocery store gift cards or a grand prize of one $1,000 grocery store gift card.

For more inspiration, please visit EasyHomeMeals.com.

About National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA)

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. NFRA sponsors national promotions ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen, March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties; and provides consumer information such as food safety guidelines, meal preparation tips, recipes and sweepstakes opportunities through its Easy Home Meals consumer website and social media properties.

For Immediate Release

Discover. Connect. Grow. National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association Convention Sets Stage to Bring Leading Retailers and Business Partners Together October 5-8

Kate Landis
717-657-8601
[email protected]

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 20, 2024) — The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) opened registration for this year’s highly anticipated NFRA Convention, taking place at the Gaylord National Harbor in National Harbor, Md., October 5-8. As the premier business event for the frozen and refrigerated foods industry, more than 1,500 anticipated attendees will conduct more than 5,000 business meetings over the course of three days, efficiently maximizing time spent at the convention.

Of particular interest:

  • Registration Now Open: Top attendees from all segments of the frozen and refrigerated industry are invited to register for Convention, bringing everyone together under one roof to conduct business.
  • Business Meetings and Networking Events: The NFRA Convention offers a dedicated platform for facilitated business meetings, driving valuable connections and industry collaboration. It’s possible to hold dozens of face-to-face meetings in just a few days, saving everyone time spent away from the office throughout the year  and money in additional travel costs.
  • Product Showcasing: Attendees can look forward to the Sunday evening opening Taste of Excellence reception, where 50+ emerging brands and leading manufacturers will showcase their latest product innovations. Café NFRA will be open Sunday – Tuesday, and offers attendees an informal meeting space with the chance to taste samples and refreshments. NFRA’s grand prize winner of the inaugural Penguin Pitch contest will be featured in the Café this year.
  • Guest Speakers: Monday will kick off with an engaging breakfast presentation by Chef Edward Lee, winner of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Culinary Director of Succotash, and Winner of James Beard Award for Best Food Writing in The Mind of a Chef. Tuesday morning will feature an industry outlook, specific to frozen and dairy insights and opportunities, customized and presented by Numerator.
  • Frozen Food Hall of Fame: During the Monday luncheon, NFRA will proudly induct new members into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame, honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to the frozen industry.
  • Golden Penguin Awards: Celebrating marketing and merchandising excellence, the Golden Penguin Awards recognize outstanding achievements in promoting frozen and refrigerated foods and will be showcased during the Tuesday luncheon.
  • New Venue: The Gaylord National Harbor, just minutes from the nation’s capital, will serve as the backdrop for this year’s event, offering proximity to 160 stores, over 40 restaurants and renowned attractions.

Join us at the 2024 NFRA Convention to explore new opportunities, build relationships, and get business done effectively in the frozen and refrigerated foods sector.

For registration and more information, visit NFRAConvention.org.

###

About National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA)

NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. NFRA sponsors national promotions ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen (January), March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties (June/July); and provides consumer information such as food safety guidelines, meal preparation tips, recipes and sweepstakes opportunities through its Easy Home Meals consumer website and social media properties.

NFRA Announces 2024 Penguin Pitch Contest Finalists

Kate Landis
717-657-8601
[email protected]

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 12, 2024) — The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) is excited to announce the finalists for its inaugural NFRA Penguin Pitch: Emerging Brand Contest. The competition, which launched in January of this year, was created to identify and celebrate the “next big brand” among frozen and refrigerated food manufacturers.

“We were thoroughly impressed at the level of participation and quality of entries that we received,” said Tricia Greyshock, President and CEO at NFRA. “The finalists that have been identified and will move to the next phase of judging showcase what it takes to stand out, whether that be through flavor, disruption, innovation and packaging.”

The 2024 Penguin Pitch Finalists include the following:

The top winner will be announced later this summer and will be awarded a coveted product showcasing space at Café NFRA during the 2024 NFRA Convention (October 5-8, National Harbor, MD). The Café offers an invaluable opportunity to feature their product and brand to industry leaders and retail partners over the course of three days. Three Honorable Mention awards will also be announced: Most creative packaging; most disruptive product; and most unique promotional campaign.

“Smaller, emerging brands represent an important part of the industry, and we’re able to connect these companies to a wider network and potential business opportunities at the NFRA Convention and beyond,” said Greyshock.

###

64% of Shoppers Say Buying Frozen Foods Helps At The Register

March Frozen Food Month Highlights Healthy, Convenient and Affordable Meal Options

For Immediate Release  
Kate Landis 
717-657-8601
[email protected] 

HARRISBURG, PA – (March 05, 2024) – In celebration of National Frozen Food Month, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association [NFRA], the leading trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry, has released the results from its latest Atomik survey.

To view the multimedia assets and survey information, please visit our landing page.

The results, tapping into shopping and meal preparation habits, found overwhelming support when it comes to the importance of having frozen foods on hand for convenience, affordability, and contribution to healthy meals.  

Key findings highlighting the advantages of frozen food include:

  • Convenience and Inspiration: Nearly all respondents (99%) find inspiration for dinner in the frozen aisle, while an overwhelming 83% agree that frozen food makes meal planning easier.
  • Budget-Friendly Benefits: Almost two-thirds of adults (64%) say frozen foods help them combat rising grocery costs, making them a valuable tool for cost-conscious consumers.
  • Healthy Options: More than three in five adults (61%) believe frozen options contribute to a nourishing breakfast, and nearly four in five parents (79%) agree.

Parents find frozen food to be an especially valuable tool for navigating both meal planning and rising grocery costs. A significant portion (76%) of parents surveyed agree that frozen food helps them stretch their budgets, a higher percentage than adults without children at home. ”For families facing rising food costs, frozen meals offer a budget-friendly solution,” said Tricia Greyshock, President & CEO of NFRA. “The ability to stock your freezer with healthy and convenient meals at an affordable price, while reducing food waste, is a plus in today’s economy.”

As part of National Frozen Food Month, NFRA has partnered with Jamie Gwen, Chef & TV personality, to share convenient, chef-inspired mealtime ideas utilizing frozen foods for busy families.

NFRA’s consumer brand, Easy Home Meals, is a valuable resource that offers recipes and inspiration for ways to make tasty, simple meals with the help of foods from the frozen and dairy aisles. With something for every taste and occasion, families can create delicious, time-saving meals without sacrificing flavor.

Throughout March, NFRA will also promote its annual $10,000 sweepstakesgiveaway and Ultimate Frozen Food Showdown bracket. Participants can enter for a chance to win 1 of 18 First Prizes of $500 supermarket gift cards or the Grand Prize of $1,000 supermarket gift card.

For over 40 years, NFRA’s March Frozen Food Month has been a nationwide celebration of frozen food. This month-long campaign highlights the benefits of the frozen aisle resources, recipes, helpful tips and more. 

For more information about the survey results, Easy Home Meals recipes, the $10,000 sweepstakes or to contact NFRA, visit nfraweb.com/research.

###

ReDiscover Inspiration in the Dairy and Frozen Food Aisles

3 in 4 adults say that they find it easier to eat healthy when they have a freshly stocked refrigerator and freezer

For Immediate Release  

Kate Landis 
717-657-8601
[email protected] 

HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 23, 2024) – Every January, the calendar flips, resolutions are penned, and intentions are set. Whether your goals focus on healthier habits, cleaner eating, or a balanced budget, the dairy and frozen food aisles are a key place to start, offering a secret weapon of convenient, budget-friendly ingredients to help you transform your January resolutions into lasting, positive change.

To view the multimedia assets and survey information, please visit our landing page.

Throughout the month of January, the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) is helping consumers ditch mealtime monotony and rediscover a world of flavor in their own kitchen.

“As consumers are seeking out new recipes and budget-friendly ideas for mealtimes, the dairy and frozen aisles offer the variety and convenience they are looking for,” says Tricia Greyshock, President and CEO of NFRA. “The number of innovative products keeps growing, presenting consumers with choices that can fit any lifestyle.”

Out with the old, in with the new. Set yourself up for success to help reach your goals. In a recent survey, more than 3 in 4 adults (78%) say they find it easier to eat healthy when they have a freshly stocked refrigerator and freezer. And more than half of adults (56%) say they clean out their refrigerator or freezer to start the new year  to make room for new items, flavors or healthier choices.

If time constraints are standing in the way of your goals, find shortcuts to help make meal prep easier and healthier. In our survey, we found that 72% of adults say they are looking for shortcuts to make eating healthier. And if spending time with friends and family is at the top of the priority list this year, ease of meal-making can help with that. When asked, nearly 1 in 2 adults say they are looking to use more ready-made entrees (48%) or more appetizers (47%) from the frozen and refrigerated aisles to make it quicker and easier to prepare meals that feel complete.

Need some creative ideas for quicker, healthier meals? Half of adults (50%) admit they are in a rut when it comes to meal decisions and more than 3 in 5 adults (62%) are actively looking for new resources for discovering unique recipes. While some of the best recipes come from foodfluencers and scrolling online, more than half of adults (54%) say the best cure for recipe fatigue is browsing their local grocery store for inspiration.

Looking for a quick and easy way to get started? The ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen lookbook and Easy Home Meals recipe library are bursting with ideas to transform everyday ingredients into culinary masterpieces. You can also conquer the kitchen with engaging video tutorials and handy recipe hacks to build culinary confidence and become a master of your meals. We’re also giving away a state-of-the-art Ninja® Kitchen appliance to take your cooking game to the next level!

###

NFRA Penguin Pitch: In Search of the Next Big Emerging Brand

For Immediate Release

Kate Landis
717-657-8601
[email protected]

HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 18, 2024) — Calling all culinary trailblazers! Do you have an exciting refrigerated or frozen food product that you believe is ready to be named the “next big thing”? If so, you may want to consider entering a new contest sponsored by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA).

The NFRA Penguin Pitch: Emerging Brand Contest is open to new or emerging food brands that are currently at retail and looking to disrupt their category. “Think of when self-rising gourmet pizza first appeared in the freezer… Or when the dairy aisle introduced milk derived from nuts and soy… That’s the kind of innovation we’re looking for,” says Tricia Greyshock, President and CEO of NFRA. The Penguin Pitch is searching for brands that push boundaries and redefine how consumers experience and enjoy frozen and refrigerated foods.

The grand prize winner will receive their own table at Café NFRA during this year’s NFRA Convention, October 5-8, 2024, in National Harbor, Md. Valued at $6,000, the Café spot will give the winning brand an opportunity to showcase their product to retailers and industry professionals. The winning brand will also receive the prestigious honor of being named NFRA’s inaugural “Emerging Brand of the Year,” increasing the brand’s growth potential. Select honorable mentions will also be awarded.

Neil Ritchey, NFRA Chairman and Vice President of Consumer Brands at InnovAsian Cuisine, adds, “Our search for emerging brands is a way of challenging manufacturers to innovate. We want to see products that not only excite shoppers, but also encourage them to spend a few extra minutes looking for new items that will make mealtimes more fulfilling.”

Entries must meet the following requirements to qualify:

  • Company must be a member of NFRA in good standing (if not currently a member, Company must join before March 1, 2024);
  • The Product being entered must have been retail ready and have been shipping to U.S. retailers as of no later than June 1, 2023;
  • Retail sales for the Product must be in the range of $100,000 – $2 million annually by February 1, 2024;
  • Company must be less than three years old;
  • Must have a viable distribution supply chain network in place;
  • Product should be innovative and fill a consumer need

For complete official rules, winner’s information, and online application, please visit www.nfraweb.org. Deadline to enter is February 16, 2024.

###

Greyshock Appointed President and CEO of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association

For Immediate Release

Kate Landis
717-657-8601
[email protected]

HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 8, 2024) — The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) has announced the appointment of Tricia Greyshock as president and CEO of the organization effective January 1, 2024. Greyshock will take over the position following the retirement of Jeff Rumachik after 14 years of service to the association.

Greyshock joined the organization in 2019 as vice president of meetings and industry relations. She was promoted to executive vice president and COO in 2022 working closely with Rumachik in all aspects of leading the association and executing its mission to promote the sales and consumption of frozen and refrigerated foods.

During her tenure, Greyshock worked with staff to bring the annual NFRA Executive Conference and NFRA Convention to new heights, including record attendance for both events in 2023; led an advisory council in development of NFRA’s new landmark January joint promotion (ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen); and oversaw year-over-year unprecedented membership growth. Under her guidance, NFRA continues to expand its reach, growing consumer awareness and engagement in the frozen and refrigerated dairy categories.

Prior to joining NFRA, Greyshock held roles including VP, Association Services at a statewide non-profit, responsible for the planning and execution of various national events while also overseeing membership services and communications efforts; as well as previous roles in sales, new business development, global congress program management and experiential marketing. Greyshock graduated summa cum laude from Lycoming College with a bachelor’s degree in international business and Spanish and a minor in economics. 

Greyshock is excited to step into her new role and lead NFRA into the future. “The frozen and refrigerated foods industry is dynamic and innovative, and I’m honored to take on this role as we build upon our foundational success to unlock new opportunities,” Greyshock says. “I look forward to collaborating with our board of directors, our membership, and the broader industry to emphasize that frozen and refrigerated foods continue to be a healthy, convenient, and delicious choice for families.”

###

New Year, New Flavors: A Delicious Journey Awaits in the Dairy & Frozen Aisles!

Kate Landis
717-657-8601
[email protected]

HARRISBURG, Pa., (January 3, 2024) – Ditch mealtime monotony and rediscover a world of flavor in your own kitchen with the National Frozen and Refrigerated Food Association’s (NFRA) ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen promotion, officially rolling out across the country from January 1 to 31, 2024!

Spark Your Culinary Creativity:
The dairy and frozen aisles are bursting with possibilities, from plant-based cheeses and unique ice cream flavor combos to quick-fix dinners and hidden-gem appetizers. Explore diverse flavors, rediscover old favorites, and find something for every taste and diet.

ReImagine Mealtime:
Unleash the potential of your freezer and fridge. Pre-cooked proteins become gourmet bowls, frozen veggies fuel vibrant stir-fries, and creamy yogurt elevates simple fruit salads. Convenience meets quality, transforming mealtimes into exciting culinary adventures. The number of inventive products keeps growing, with more added all the time. 

More than Just Meals:
Beyond the aisles in your local grocery store, the ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen conversation continues online. Join the #ReDiscoverDairyandFrozen discussion and follow along on social media, where you’ll find:

  • Recipe Inspiration: From quick-fix breakfasts to gourmet dinners and everything in-between, our ReDiscover recipe lookbook and Easy Home Meals recipe library is bursting with ideas to transform everyday ingredients into culinary masterpieces.
  • Unleash Your Inner Culinary Ninja: Enter for a chance to win a state-of-the-art Ninja® Kitchen appliance and take your cooking game to the next level! This powerful kitchen companion will help you master frozen meals, air-fry vegetables to perfection, and whip up creamy smoothies with effortless ease.
  • Level Up Your Kitchen Game: Conquer the kitchen with our engaging video tutorials and handy recipe hacks using items from the frozen and dairy aisles. Build your culinary confidence through step-by-step guides, clever substitutions, and time-saving shortcuts. Become the master of your meals, one delicious discovery at a time!

“January is a great time for consumers to reconnect with the incredible variety and convenience the dairy and frozen aisles offer,” says Tricia Greyshock, President and CEO of NFRA. “ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen is a reminder that healthy, delicious meals can be quick, easy, and affordable!”

Join the ReDiscover Dairy & Frozen movement and embark on a culinary adventure in your own kitchen!

###

SURVEY REVEALS 81% OF CONSUMERS NOW COOK MORE THAN HALF OF THEIR MEALS AT HOME

National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association Releases Report Detailing Americans’ Changing Approach Toward Food

HARRISBURG, Pa. (December 4, 2023) – Since its peak in 2020 and 2021, cooking at home has decreased slightly, but 64% of Americans are continuing to do so to save money and control their budget. After gaining confidence in the kitchen during lockdown, Americans are looking for inspiration to DIY healthier-for-them meals at home – preferably with ingredients from deals in the frozen and refrigerated food aisles. They are also relying more on online grocery shopping and social media for inspiration on how to use those ingredients.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry, released these findings as part of its latest “Eating at Home” industry report. The report is the culmination of a large-scale research study conducted to better understand Americans’ changing grocery-shopping habits.

To view the multimedia assets and survey information, please visit our landing page.

To gather data, researchers surveyed more than 12,000 U.S. consumers; and to gain in-depth, everyday insights, twenty consumers from across the U.S. welcomed researchers into their homes and to their local grocery stores. Additionally, a large-scale analysis of news and social media content helped researchers identify and understand consumer perspectives surrounding frozen and refrigerated foods over the past 18 months up to mid-August of 2023.

“This is the largest research undertaking from the NFRA on behalf of the frozen and refrigerated food industry, with the results yielding directional insights for food manufacturers on consumer trends,” said NFRA President and CEO Jeff Rumachik.

While the entire report is available to read – including directional insights for those in the industry – some trends from the report are available now for the public.

Health-ier Choices

Americans are prioritizing “healthier-for-me” options, especially as they gain control over what ingredients go into their meals.

  • Taste or flavor (66%), quality of the groceries (65%) and healthiness (49%) determine what consumers are putting in their carts.
  • Nearly 3 in 5 consumers (59%) say they began cooking at home using precut frozen fruits and vegetables to save on prep time; using frozen main dishes that are easier to prepare, while making their own side dishes; or using frozen fruit in recipes for smoothies or other treats sometime within the past three years.

Convenient and Cost-Effective Options

Convenience doesn’t mean people are just putting frozen dinners in the oven. They’re making some dishes from scratch while using frozen foods and dairy aisle finds to make their home-cooked meals complete. As shoppers continue to explore new tastes and recipes, they’re also taking notice of increased variety within the frozen and dairy aisles – as well as hunting for deals to help their budget.

  • 93% of consumers indicate they buy milk or are always looking out for offers on milk when shopping in the dairy aisle. In that same group, more than two-thirds (68%) are always on the lookout for milk alternatives/flavored milk or indicate they purchase milk alternatives/flavored milk occasionally or frequently when shopping in the dairy aisle.
  • 45% of consumers rely on air fryers and 43% use slow cookers to cook and prepare food. As of September 2023, there were 9.7 billion views of videos tagged with #airfryer (Media analysis, Atomik Research 2023).

Technology’s Growing Role in the Food We Eat

Technology and social media are having a major influence in shifting how and what Americans eat. Consumers are adopting online grocery shopping and looking to social media for cooking inspiration to make eating at home more convenient or to fill in the gaps when they don’t have the skillset for making a recipe.

  • More than half (54%) of consumers are learning about food and cooking through TikTok and YouTube.
  • A third of consumers (33%) prefer to shop for groceries online because automated recommended purchases / ‘programmatic reminders’ help ensure that they never forget the ingredients they need for recipes.

For more information about the research and its methodology, to read the full report, or to contact NFRA, visit nfraweb.com/research.