Frozen food market: dollar sales growth in the U.S. 2016, by product category

This statistic depicts the dollar sales growth of different frozen food product categories in the United States in 2016, compared to the previous year. In that year, ice cream/sherbet reported a dollar sales growth of 7.2 percent in the frozen food department.

Frozen foods

Frozen foods are defined as industrially manufactured foods that are preserved through freezing and kept frozen up until the point of use. Freezer cabinets in the retail environment 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 proper temperature of -18 degrees Celsius or less.

Freezing foods for preservation purposes has long historical roots, but the modern refrigeration business was first born out of Carl Linde’s invention of a refrigerating machine in 1874. During the 50’s, as home refrigeration became more common, a completely new product known as the ‘TV-dinner’ was introduced to the market by Gerry Thomas. The product came packaged in an aluminum tray and was designed to be heated directly in the oven as a quick home meal solution for consumption in front of the television. The original TV-dinner was divided into a three-part container and consisted of turkey, mashed sweet potatoes and buttered peas served with gravy and corn bread dressing. In particular, the convenient meal targeted the busy wives who had begun to enter the labor market at the time.

Today, consumers’ reasons behind the purchase decision of frozen foods are still attributes such as convenience and easy preparation owing to the fact that the frozen dishes are ready for serving in less than five minutes. Product categories that have seen the largest growth in sales in 2014 were ice, dessert/fruit/toppings and breakfast foods. Industry professionals see high potential in products with healthier formulations such as ‘Better-for-you’ options and products based on natural and organic ingredients.

Frozen food dollar sales growth in the United States in 2016, by product category

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Release date

October 2016


United States

Survey time period

12 weeks ended August 7, 2016

Supplementary notes

Sales in supermarkets, drugstores, mass merchants, military commissaries and select club and dollar stores combined for the 12 weeks ended August 7, 2016.

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