Frozen’ is a Hit with Consumers

Meat Sales Remain Elevated
April 28, 2020
Food Prices Log Biggest Jump Since ’74
May 13, 2020

Ravioli pasta with red tomato sauce

Since the onset of coronavirus in the United States, grocery shopping patterns have been vastly different in terms of elevated spending, day of the week, day part, product and brand choices, and online engagement. The week ending April 19 marked the seventh week of coronavirus-related shopping patterns.

In-home consumption is here to stay for the foreseeable future and the additional demand continued to push retail sales well above prior year levels, despite going up against the later 2019 Easter, which last year fell on April 21. During these past six weeks, the frozen foods department has emerged as a sales leader across edibles and the week of April 19 was no different.

During the week of April 19, frozen food sales continued to show highly elevated levels, with dollars up 28.8% over the comparable week in 2019. Despite another strong week for meat (+17.3%), the total perimeter increased just 1.0% due to the decreases in deli and bakery. Center store edibles increased 10.5%. Frozen foods generated nearly $1.4 billion in the week of March 29, 2020 — above $332 million more than the comparable week in 2019. Frozen food unit sales were up 22.9%.

The largest share within frozen foods — frozen meals — increased more than 20%. This was driven by continued appetite for frozen pizza, which was up 51.1% over the week ending April 19 versus the comparable week in 2019. Like fresh meat and poultry, frozen animal protein continued to see high gains, up 41.5%, with big gains for all components. Frozen snacks also continued to do well, up 58.6%.

Overseas sales patterns can help shed some light on what may lie ahead. After very similar weeks of stockpiling as seen in the U.S., most countries seem to have shifted to continued elevated purchasing levels for total edibles, with mixed engagement with fresh (meat, produce, bakery, etc.). For food, the everyday baseline for the week ending April 12 (Easter week) trended about 20% above the comparable week in 2019 for all countries. Non-edible sales have mostly leveled off and declined for some. Frozen food continues to see above-average gains in all countries, but Spain.

Source:, 4-29-2020

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