Frozen food market: sales in the U.S. 2018, by product category

This graph shows frozen food sales in the United States in 2018, by product category. For the 12 weeks ended August 12, 2018, ice cream was the largest frozen food category with sales of about 1.49 billion U.S. dollars. Among the leading ice cream brands in the U.S. that year were Breyers and Ben & Jerry's, generating approximately 499.9 and 465.4 million U.S. dollars in sales respectively.

Frozen foods

Frozen foods are industrially manufactured foods that are preserved through freezing methods. Supermarket aisles of the frozen food market carry subcategories including frozen dinner and entrées (multi-serve and single-serve), ice cream and sherbets, frozen pizza, frozen breakfast foods, frozen snacks and appetizers, vegetables and frozen desserts. Frozen foods must be stored at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius or less.

The first attempts at freezing foods date back to around the 15th century, but the real beginning of the refrigeration business has gone hand in hand with the development of the refrigerating machine by Carl Linde in 1874. However, it took several more years before the first ready-to-eat dinner had been created during the 50's by Gerry Thomas, also known as the ‘TV-dinner’. It was intended to be warmed up straight in the oven and then to be enjoyed in front of the television. The original TV dinner was packaged in an aluminum tray similar to those used for airline food service. Based on a Thanksgiving dinner as model, it comprised of a three-component meal of turkey, mashed sweet potatoes and buttered peas accompanied with gravy and corn bread dressing. In particular, the convenient meal targeted the busy wives who had at the time begun to enter the labor market.

Today, time-pressed customers are still searching for convenient products that are simple and easy to prepare when they buy frozen foods at a store. Industry experts assume that category sales will increase in the coming years with healthier choices and industry trends such as ‘Better-for-you’ products and products containing natural and organic ingredients.
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Frozen food sales in the United States in 2018, by product category
(in million U.S. dollars)
Sales in million U.S. dollars
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