The frozen food industry has seen steady growth since COVID-19 began, as people gravitate towards foods with longer shelf lives.

“United States based frozen food sales increased 18.2 percent in 2020, ringing up US$66 billion in sales,” American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) President and CEO Alison Bodor tells Food Tank. She says that seven percent of consumers who rarely or never purchased frozen foods pre-pandemic are now doing so.

Decreasing grocery store visits and preparing for potential food shortages motivates U.S. consumers to shop frozen during the pandemic, according to a November 2020 AFFI report. Frozen foods also appeal to consumers looking to avoid cooking when they cannot visit restaurants.

But COVID-19 is not the only factor driving these trends. According to AFFI, health-conscious Americans began gravitating towards vegetarian dishes and nutritious meals from the frozen food aisle even before the pandemic. Companies such as Amy’s Kitchen have helped lead this shift for two decades, adding gluten free options in 2001 and coining National Veggie Burger day in 2016.

Read the full article about frozen food by Madison Morse at Food Tank.