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US frozen foods sluggish at best; modest gains for Canada, Mexico: Walmart remains the elephant in the living room, gaining at the expense of conventional supermarkets. Dinners and entrees top category in United States, but breakfast foods are the fastest gainer. Pizza stalls, at least at supermarkets.

The United States overwhelmingly dominates the North American market for frozen food and ice cream. No surprise there. But, just as in the case of Europe, there is a great discrepancy in figures from Food for Thought (FFT), Geneva, Switzerland, and other sources.

Frozen food sales at US supermarkets and other outlets exclusive of Walmart were up 2.3% to $24.565 billion, according to Symphony IRI Group, Chicago, Illinois, and poundage virtually unchanged at 8.89 billion. Counting Walmart, retail sales must have been at least a third greater. Restaurant sales were up overall last year to $611 billion, according to the National Restaurant Association, and foodservice frozens presumably rose with them.

Based on a comparison of 2010 frozen food sales as reported by IRI and Nielsen (which counts Walmart), the fudge factor for the megachain was 1.35 for that year in dollar terms. It probably hasn't changed much since then, because Walmart is trying to hold down retail prices even though its costs have increased 3.5%; that would mean a 2011 dollar volume of $33.163 billion, up about 2.6% from the Nielsen figure for 2010. The poundage fudge factor would have to be higher, at 1.46, just to match Nielsen's 2010 total--and Walmart opened more than 100 supercenters with frozen food departments last year.

But FFT puts overall US tonnage at 10.3 million without ice cream and 18 million with it, as compared to 15.5 million and 21.248 million in 2010. Dollar value is put at $44,703 billion without ice cream and $71.7 billion with it, versus $58.351 billion and $76.044 billion the year before. Canadian and Mexican figures, by contrast, show modest increases in both tonnage and dollars.

For Canada, tonnage increased 1.6% to 1.544 million, including ice cream, and dollar value 19.9% to $10.1 billion. Mexican frozen foods and ice cream gained 1.8% in tonnage to 513,500; and 2.8% in value to $2.101 billion. Moreover, category figures for both countries showed consistent modest gains, whereas those for the US were all over the map--several up dramatically (pastry products from 184,300 tons to 560,200 million, fruit from 127,600 to 676,300, convenience meats from 229,700 to 914,600), but vegetables down just as dramatically from 9,512,000 to 2,899,000.

IRI data is consistent from year to year, and in keeping with past trends. The largest category, dinners and entrees, was up 0.6% to $6.224 billion (excluding Walmart), though down 1.5% in poundage to 1.906 million. Next was pizza, at $3.145 billion (up 0.6%) and 971 million pounds (off 2.7%). Frozen seafood gained 3.2% in dollar volume to $2.359 billion, but poundage slid one percent to 404 million. Processed poultry inched up less than a percent to $1.843 billion and 476 million pounds. The largest gainer in a major category was breakfast food, up 9.3% to $1.73 billion, and 6.2% to 495.7 million pounds. Appetizers and snack rolls were up 4.7% to $1.086 billion and 3.3% to 289 million tons. Juices continued their long slide, off 4.8% to $350 million.

FFT, which attributes anomalies in some of its 2011 figures to errors in the 2010 figures at a time when the company was in transition to a new analyst, agrees with IRI that pizza, ready meals and potato products have stalled, and it reports dollar volume as well as tonnage off for the first two. It also reports a strong increase in ice cream sales, which it says account for 37.8% of the total dollar volume and 25.7% by weight. FFT uses buy-in as opposed to end-user values on the foodservice side, which reduces dollar totals overall.

Another source, Global Industry Analysts (GIA), San Jose, California, puts overall North American frozen prepared sales at $39.390 billion for 2011 and predicts this will grow to $45.665 billion by 2015. "Frozen, prepared food is a good alternative to fresh, cooked food when busy days shorten the time to prepare meals," the company said in a press release.

An increase in the number of working women and changing trends in ethnicity have led to greater indulgence in frozen food, the study says. Moreover, the increasing number of nuclear families, rise in disposable incomes, young singles with few if any cooking skills, and increased interest in ethnic and international foods have served as the impetus to the frozen food industry. Pizza is seem as just one example.

"Frozen pizzas dominate the prepared foods industry," notes the report. "These pizzas no longer have to conform to traditional flat and circular shapes, but come in a variety of innovative shapes/ structures, such as pizza-on-a stick, pizza pockets and pizza strudel. In 2010, the segment witnessed exponential growth, primarily as the recession forced consumers to look for convenient and economically priced items instead of purchasing takeouts or splurging in dining out. Even though the marketing efforts of pizza chains have made a shght dent in the sales of frozen pizzas, the latter are expected to see sales increases with the introduction of new products and enhanced ingredients as well as promotional strategies."
US Frozen Food Market, 2011

Product Line Dollars Change

Baby Food 5,351,296 +267.5%
Coffee Cream 3,552,373 +1.76%
Corn on the Cob 109,230,200 -1.28%
Fruit 403,415,600 +3.57%
Meat 1,413,127,000 +4.75%
Other 84,576,410 +11.18%
Pasta 281,170,400 +1.52%
Side Dishes 221,536,900 -0.70%
Processed Poultry 1,842,980,000 +0.61%
Bread Dough 733,403,500 +3.70%
Breakfast Food 1,729,620,000 +9.29%
Cookies 450,170 +16.01%
Desserts/Toppings 536,405,400 -0.14%
Prepared Vegetables 305,200,600 +6.58%
Appetizers/Snack Rolls 1,086,049,000 +4.68%
Dinners/Entrees 6,223,796,000 +0.57%
Pies 489,948,200 +4.1%
Pizza 3,145,264,000 +0.06%
Pot Pies 286,848,000 +5.13%
Plain Vegetables 1,849,746,000 +2.21%
Potatoes/Onions 1,103,075,000 +3.66%
Seafood 2,358,517,000 +3.22%
Juices 349,689,000 -4.77%
Total 24,564,951,000 +2.3%

Product Line Pounds Change

Baby Food 697,531 +291.63%
Coffee Cream 2,636,702 -7.96%
Corn on the Cob 344,694,300 -4.64.%
Fruit 125,954,600 -0.18%
Meat 400,243,600 -0.97%
Other 24,168,310 +9.01%
Pasta 111,347,500 +1.50%
Side Dishes 77,321,260 -1.99%
Processed Poultry 475,694,400 +0.69%
Bread Dough 267,272,000 -0.64%
Breakfast Food 495,699,900 +6.21%
Cookies 47,312 -14.37%
Desserts/Toppings 165,408,800 +3.46%
Prepared Vegetables 114,118,900 +4.56%
Appetizers/Snack Rolls 288,836,600 +3.31%
Dinners/Entrees 1,905,526,000 -1.46%
Pies 174,145,300 +0.09%
Pizza 970,649,300 -2.74%
Pot Pies 118,780,300 +0.54%
Plain Vegetables 1,053,490,000 +0.37%
Potatoes/Onions 737,503,800 -0.17%
Seafood 403976800 -1.01%
Juices 611,236,400 -12.07%
Total 8,889,648,000 N/C

Source: Symphony IRI Group (excludes Walmart)

TOTAL FROZEN FOOD MARKET BY VALUE IN 2011
(US $ Millions)

Product Line Canada Mexico USA

Frozen Pastry 456.1 153.0 3,535.1
Frozen Fruit 362.2 51.0 3,162.7
Frozen Vegetables 1,694.3 140.9 8,340.1
Frozen Potatoes 1,109.9 347.8 4,920.8
Ice Cream 1,259.5 369.0 26,997.0
Frozen Soup 14.7 0.0 127.1
Frozen Convenience Meats 1,112.5 193.0 5,264.8
Frozen Fish 1,769.9 464.4 3,844.1
Frozen Pizza 597.8 118.8 3,651.7
Frozen Ready Meals 1,731.8 243.1 11,856.4
Total (ex. ice cream) 8,841.1 1,732.1 71,699.9
Grand Total 10,100.6 2,101.1 62,358.7

Source: Food for Thought * All data refer to total final
human consumption, including retail, catering-food-service
and artisanal-craft, thus excluding industrial consumption
and on-farm consumption.

TOTAL FROZEN FOOD MARKET BY VOLUME IN 2011
(Thousands of tons/Millions of liters)

Countries Canada Mexico USA

Frozen Pastry 47.9 19.2 560.2
Frozen Fruit 70.4 10.8 676.3
Frozen Vegetables 208.3 44.5 2,898.9
Frozen Potatoes 434.8 99.1 3,416.3
Ice Cream 301.2 162.7 7,706.1
Frozen Soup 3.4 0.0 43.1
Frozen Convenience
 Meats 115.4 56.9 914.6
Frozen Fish 190.8 77.2 368.5
Frozen Pizza 57.8 14.5 415.3
Frozen Ready Meals 114.4 28.6 1,005.7
Total (ex. ice cream) 1,243.0 350.8 18,004.9
Grand Total 1,544.2 513.5 14,037.5

Source: Food for Thought * All data refer to total final
human consumption, including retail, cateringffoodservice and
artisanal/craft, thus excluding industrial consumption and
on-farm consumption.
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Title Annotation:NORTH AMERICA
Author:Pierce, J.J.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 2012
Words:1546
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