KEEPING IT FRESH IN FROZEN
By John Cardamone
Shoppers are bored. Not only have they been stuck in their households for nearly a year…they’ve been eating the same foods! But boredom is just one piece of a larger puzzle when it comes to shopper behavior. (Especially as pandemic mindsets continue to shift daily.) Over the last year, we’ve seen consumer behavior change in nearly every way. Which has created a moving target for brands. I recently attended the NFRA Executive Conference where we discussed trends, challenges, and opportunities within the frozen & refrigerated food industry.
Based on insights and data, here are 3 ways your brand can stay fresh in the frozen aisle:
1. LOAD UP ON FLAVOR AND OPTIONS
Like I mentioned, food boredom is on the rise. Normally, that could be combated by heading out to your local restaurant…but we aren’t living in normal times. In fact, 50% of those who frequent the frozen food aisle are still planning to eat at home for another 5-6 months.
With 65% of consumers being tired of cooking at home and 79% craving something new, it’s time for your brand to step in and spice things up. (Literally.) Frozen food options are a great and easy way to prepare foods at home — but what is your brand doing to infuse more flavor, variety, and allure onto the plate?
Hot trends: When it comes to flavor cravings, some top cuisines include Japanese, Korean, French, Middle Eastern, and Hawaiian. (Lowest cravings include Mexican, Italian, and American.)
2. MAKE IT DIFFERENT…BUT ALSO FAMILIAR
Yes, I just told you to spice things up. But I’d remiss to ignore that shoppers are also craving a level of comfort. After an unpredictable year of events…who can blame them for wanting some consistency? For your brand, this could mean boosting the nostalgia factor.
Nearly 70% of consumers are extremely or very likely to purchase a favorite nostalgic food or beverage right now. For younger consumers, this means hearkening back to the late 90s/early aughts. What styles, flavors, themes…or even products are ready for a reboot?
Even though nostalgia is considered comforting, we shouldn’t abandon new trends and behavior. How can your brand incorporate nostalgic themes while still putting a new, relevant twist on it?
Hot trends: Casserole vs bowl? Let’s be honest, they’re basically the same thing. But not to different generations. Research found that Millennials prefer the term “bowl” to describe a mix of cooked ingredients into one dish…whereas Gen Xers prefer to call them “casseroles.” Does your brand simply need some rebranding to better connect with your target?
3. PUTTING HEALTH INTO THE WFH ROUTINE
Remote work is here to stay…and many adults like it that way. Data shows that 41% of US adults would consider taking a pay cut to continue working remotely. In addition, those who are working at home or lost jobs are more likely to buy frozen foods. (Which is great news for you!)
We’ve already discussed how shoppers are craving new flavors, added interest, and a dose of comfort. But what else? Better health.
New data shows that 58% of consumers are looking forward to eating healthier in 2021. However, throughout the pandemic, consumer confidence and personal finance were huge factors in the why-nots of healthy eating. In fact, the most popular reason consumers avoided healthier foods was due to cost. Simply, most shoppers found it too expensive during a time where other priorities were on the table.
But now that we’re in Q1 of 2021, shoppers are whistling a different tune. The top reason for avoiding healthier options is no longer due to cost…but because they don’t want to cut back on things they like.
With conflicting goals and behavior, how can your brand provide consumers healthier eating options without making them feel like they’re eliminating their favorite things? Are there partnerships, meal bundles, new low-calorie flavors?
Hot trend: Anticipate remote workers to raise the bar on their frozen food expectations. Yes, they’re craving healthy…but also flavor, interest, and indulgence.
In conclusion, there is no time to stay frozen in your old sales and marketing ways. Consumers have gone stale with their at-home consumption and are craving a big shake up.
How is your brand appealing to their shifted behavior and emerging trends? CROSSMARK is ready to help build a flavorful strategy that serves up big results!