The freezer aisle has long had an ambience problem. Despite being home to several staple categories and a few indulgent ones (hello, ice cream!) it’s not a part of the supermarket that shoppers like to linger in, thereby reducing browsing opportunities.
But with many shoppers turning to online shopping, the playing field is levelling.
A spokesperson for McCain says online shopping has certainly helped with growth in the frozen segment.
“Consumers in-store often don’t wish to spend a long time in this area of the supermarket due to how cold it is or navigating getting product home in a still frozen state,” the spokesperson says.
“Navigation and end meal inspiration are also difficult to do within the in-store environment. Both these barriers can be overcome through online shopping.”
Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns have led to a surge in sales of frozen products online.
Elliott Bailey is the Sales & Digital Marketing Manager at Myfoodlink, promoted as the leading supplier of e-commerce support and solutions for independent retailers. While unable to provide specific details on online sales of frozen products in the independent market, he says recent data from IRI and observations from his recent experience working for Woolworths New Zealand reveal the frozen category attracted significant spikes online during Covid-19 lockdowns.
“This was driven from panic buying and the uncertainty it created around food,” he says. “Frozen, having a large shelf life, drove a large sales lift in this category.
“Online shopping as an industry has been up 40 per cent year on year for the last two years from just sheer uptake of service due to Covid. We’ve also seen similar figures in the independent sector. Frozen definitely had a far larger lift compared with other categories online in this mix.”
Read more about frozen products and how brands are adapting to changing shopping habits in the April issue of Retail World.