Frozen food market in Europe - Statistics and Facts

Changing lifestyles impact consumer behavior, and the speed of modern life turns European customers towards frozen food - food that is easy and quick to prepare. On the weekends consumers might enjoy long cooking sessions, but with more and more adults working fulltime, convenience is often key during the week.

Germany was the most important frozen food market in Europe in 2015, with an estimated market share of 21 percent and a market value of 8.8 billion euros, followed by the United Kingdom (20 percent market share, 8.6 billion euros value) and France (13 percent, 5.5 billion). But although in terms of market value and share Germany was the leading frozen food market, the per capita expenditure on frozen food in the United Kingdom was actually considerably higher, with 133 euros per person in 2015, against 109 euros in Germany.

Every year millions of tons of frozen products are sold in Europe. In 2015, Europeans bought 5.8 million tons of frozen fruit and vegetables, in total 3.3 tons of ice cream and frozen desserts, 1.1 million tons of processed meats, 1 million tons of ready meals and many more frozen products. The most frequently bought frozen food item in Europe in 2013-2014 was the frozen ready meal, with a market share of 28.3 percent. In the same period, ice cream had a market share of nearly 22 percent. Frozen fish was responsible for roughly 16 percent of the total sales value in the frozen food market that year. Frozen dough and bread products were considerably less popular, with a market share of only 1.5 percent.

Two of the most popular frozen food items are pizza and ice cream. Of the largest European countries, Germans are the most enthusiastic consumers of both products. In Germany, roughly 312 million tons of frozen pizza were sold in 2015. To put this in perspective: that is more than the sales in the United Kingdom (147 million tons) and France (83 million tons) combined! Germans are also keen consumers of ice cream and frozen desserts. In 2015, approximately 560,000 metric tons of ice cream were sold in Germany, roughly 120,000 tons more than in Italy and the United Kingdom. In addition, nearly 210,000 tons of frozen desserts were sold in Germany. In comparison, in Italy figures amounted to 6,200 tons and in Spain 17,200 tons.

In 2016, over 3.6 million tons of frozen food items were sold in Europe’s leading food market, Germany. The majority of the revenue here came from food retail. In 2017, revenue in this market amounted to roughly 7.8 billion euros. The most popular products were frozen fish (approximately 1.24 billion euros), pizza (1.16 billion euros) and meat (804 million). The average household in Germany consumed over 90 kilos of deep-frozen food in 2016. Between 2008 and 2016, the per capita consumption of frozen food increased from 39 kilos per year to 45.4 kilos, a sign that frozen food is indeed becoming more and more popular.

In the United Kingdom, over 2.7 billion units of frozen food products were sold in supermarkets in 2018, the majority of those frozen vegetables (737 million units). The total value of frozen food retail sales amounted to approximately 1.4 billion pounds that year. Approximately 60 percent of the total expenditure on frozen food in the UK in 2015 was spent on frozen prepared foods, with another nearly 20 percent spent on frozen confectionery. Frozen meat products were considerably less popular, responsible for only 4.1 percent of the total expenditure in this category. In terms of users, ice cream is the most popular product in the UK, with approximately 31.5 million consumers in total, followed by frozen vegetables at 24.8 million. The leading chilled and frozen food brands in the UK according to the YouGov BrandIndex were Cathedral City (Buzz score of 7.7), Qyorn (6.4) and Lurpark (5.8).

In the Netherlands, the best-selling frozen food products in 2016 were snacks (25.5 percent of the total turnover), pizza (14.1 percent) and fish (13.7 percent). In the latter category, especially fish with toppings and breaded fish fingers were popular, with market shares of 33.4 and 27.8 percent respectively. Expenditure on frozen food products was especially high among well-to-do households with children, who on average spent 167 euros per year on frozen food. On the other end of the spectrum, singles spent considerably less on frozen food products, at approximately 75 euros per year.

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Frozen food in the United Kingdom (UK)

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