Food service operators are turning to frozen foods to meet their business needs

ARLINGTON, VA –(BUSINESS WIRE)–New research finds that more than 90% of foodservice operators use frozen foods on their menus, with the health care, convenience store and fast-casual categories reporting the largest increases in usage since 2019. Operators report, that frozen foods offer solutions to many of the operational challenges they face in light of ongoing supply chain and labor market disruptions.

Commissioned by the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) and conducted by Technomic Inc., the second edition of The Power of Frozen in Foodservice The surveys sought to understand operator attitudes and use of frozen foods. Technomic publishes qualitative and quantitative surveys among more than 350 operators from 10 segments.

“Operators face unique and pressing challenges in today’s new foodservice environment, and frozen foods are a useful resource to address these needs,” said Alison Bodor, AFFI President and CEO. “From easy preparation to year-round availability to reduced food waste, foodservice operators are recognizing the benefits of frozen foods.”

Forty percent of foodservice operators surveyed reported buying more frozen foods than they did in 2019, and more than 50% indicated they were using as much as before. Overall, the use of frozen foods in foodservice is high, and a large proportion of operators report purchasing frozen vegetables (83% of operators), potato products (78%) and fruit (76%). The fastest growing frozen items purchased by operators are appetizers (75% of operators report an increase in purchases since 2019), seafood (55%) and vegetables (53%).

The The Power of Frozen in Foodservice also revealed that frozen foods are influential in managing the market challenges facing foodservice operators. Survey respondents reported operational efficiency, supply chain and product availability, and workforce as top concerns for their businesses. At the same time, operators identified year-round availability, longer shelf life, product consistency and ease of preparation as some of the main advantages of frozen foods. Eighty-four percent of operators agreed that frozen foods also produce less waste, which can help with sustainability and cost savings.

“Cost and labor continue to be the biggest challenges for foodservice operators, and our research found that frozen foods are recognized as value solutions,” said Joe Pawlak, managing director of Technomic. “High usage penetration and reported satisfaction indicate that frozen foods play a vital role in foodservice.”

Studies have also found that consumers find it very acceptable to use frozen ingredients, creating a win-win for both the operator and their customer. As operators work to meet future demands such as authentic flavors and tastes, frozen innovation and the growth of products such as appetizers and ethnic dishes offer new opportunities.

“Frozen foods help meet the immediate needs of foodservice operators and should be part of future strategies for success,” Bodor added. “Continuous innovation in frozen products creates even more options for dining solutions that customers will enjoy.”

An infographic summarizing the best findings from The Power of Frozen in Foodservice is available here. A free copy of the report is available to members of the media by contacting [email protected] Report made possible by Simplot and ArdoVLM.

About AFFI

The American Frozen Foods Institute is a member-driven national trade association representing all segments of the frozen food supply chain from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. AFFI advocates to legislative and regulatory bodies on behalf of the industry, serves as the voice of the industry, and convenes industry leadership to create an environment where frozen foods are essential in a dynamic marketplace.

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