Woman taking deep frozen food from a freezer in a supermarket
Woman taking deep frozen food from a freezer in a supermarket

America’s love for frozen food is growing day by day, according to the inaugural Future of Frozen Food report from Conagra, and consumers will be reaching for frozen foods with flavor, snackability, health attributes, and more in 2024.

Though sales of frozen food have normalized since the pandemic surge, 2023’s volume sales were up 5% from 2019, outpacing sales of total food. The U.S. frozen food industry generates $77.6 billion in annual sales, with prepared foods (33%) and desserts (22%) accounting for most of the dollar share. 

Meal variety and flexibility, easy preparation, and long-term storage ability have made frozen foods something most Americans always have on hand. But what will they be searching the freezer aisle for in 2024? Conagra identified five trends setting the stage for future growth and innovation in the industry.

Global cuisines

As consumers seek to travel the world through taste experiences, they’ll be expecting to find more global cuisines in frozen formats. Asian-inspired foods will continue to be popular, including flavors like teriyaki and Korean BBQ and appetizers like dumplings, wontons, and gyoza, while chicken tikka, samosas, and butter chicken are some of the fastest-growing Indian flavors. Consumers are also craving more spice, with sriracha and hot honey quickly heating up the frozen aisle. 

Frozen breakfast 

Americans are turning to frozen foods in search for more breakfast options that deliver on taste and time savings. This has led to double digit volume and velocity growth for breakfast sandwiches, with frozen croissant sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and biscuit sandwiches being the most popular options. Frozen waffles, French toast, and high protein products are also gaining sales. 

Smaller portions

An appetite for snacking is sparking a love for smaller sizes in frozen food. Internet searches for bites and minis reached 3 million last year, with some of the most common searches including egg bites, mini cheesecake, mini quiche, and energy bites. 

Kid-friendly meals 

Over the past four years, sales of kid-friendly frozen food have grown 122%. But parents aren’t just looking for easy meal options for their children — claims like clean label, “free from,” and high protein are high on their wish list, and products offering whole grains and added vegetables help them provide the nutrients kids need in a taste they’ll love.  

Air fryer ready

More than six in 10 households now have an air fryer on hand, so it’s not surprising that more and more frozen foods now come packaged with air-frying instructions. Consumers see air-frying as a healthier, faster, and tastier way to enjoy foods like chicken, fries, and vegetables. 

For more on what’s next in frozen foods, see Conagra’s full report

Supplier Catalog - Software - Deacom / ECI Software