The Italian market of frozen foods in 2012

According to data recently released by the Italian Institute of Frozen Foods, the economic crisis that in recent years has invested our country has led to a general reduction in food expenditure bringing it back 20 years, reaching the last five years to a scissor kick to the food of the 9.6%. In particular, the year 2012 has registered the largest decline in household consumption from the Italian post-war period (-4%) and it is now clear that the long crisis has also had a significant impact on purchases of food products, which traditionally had always shown a relatively stable demand.

Consumers are shifting their purchases to products with a lower unit cost, by changing types and brands of products, and in part by redefining the preferences for distribution formats, such as attending to a greater extent the discount. In addition, about 90% of consumers experiencing behaviour dispenser (small portions, use leftovers, et.) And as much as 64% eat at home more than in the recent past.

On some of these issues are beginning to weigh the social and demographic changes: an aging population, the feminization of the labor market, the increasing commuting and the change in times, an increase in the frequency of eating out and a shift of purchases from groceries to restaurant services offered by participating establishments.

On the other hand, although the incidence of the total consumption of food continues to shrink, Italians are confirmed, among Europeans, the people with the highest per capita expenditure on food, because every year it amounts to 2,300 euro pro capita in our country, in Germany to 1,800 euro and in the UK to 1,500 euro. Italians, while doing more attention to spending, do not give up the quality of what they eat, believe that nutrition plays a central role with regard to health and are also by far the Europeans pay more attention to the origin ( 88%) and brand (68%) of the food they buy.



Focus on frozen foods


Concerning in particular the frozen, in 2012 the sector has countered with substantial success, the pitfalls of the economic downturn, storing the year with a very slight decrease overall (-0.1%).

This is mainly due to the fact that the frozen food emergency is no longer a choice, but they entered everyday use due to its advantages in terms of service, speed of preparation, quality and “naturalness” because of the absence of preservatives, food security, seasonal adjustment and relocation of the products, without forgetting ‘”effect pantry.” The annual average Italian family reached last year’s 14.6 kg.

The increase in consumption of frozen food in recent years mainly concerns the categories now more valued by nutritionists and Italian media for their health aspect as vegetables. A witness to the broad spectrum of requirements to which the frozen respond, following the increase of other types of product, very different from each other, such as french fries and the pizzas from one side and the other fish. It also shows a strong propensity to purchase reference innovative today but still not widely available (products ready with original recipes, only to find in the microwave – treated plants or steamed – dessert table, type strudel – only to be defrosted or pre-baked bread to be heated briefly in the oven), which is indicative of the growing familiarity with the category and a strong interest in experimenting with new flavours.



The consumption by sectors



Also during 2012, the segment of the plant was found to be the first in absolute terms: it is a market that accounts for about 42% of sales volume (224,807 t in 2012 against 224,540 in 2011, equivalent to +0.1%) and has a national penetration rate of more than 22 million families.

The sector has seen an almost complete analogy with the previous year with regard to the volume purchased, while in terms of value, there has been a slight increase, not so much due to an increase in prices as a redefinition of consumer choice , more and more oriented towards wellness products and added value. In 2012, faced with a substantial stability of simple vegetable and an encouraging affirmation of those preparations (+4.5%) was recorded for the second consecutive year, a sharp decline in soups and stews, especially in the prepared food.

The main companies in the sector have stepped up their offerings in convenience area, often presented in singles dose unit, and an increase in proposals be found in the microwave, in a single product offering ease of preparation, inspiration and well-being in the kitchen to the table.



The segment of the potato is an important market (over 14% by volume of the total frozen) can highlight a potential highly innovative able to interpret the new requirements of the consumer. It is expressed in many new variations, among them, the most effective is the trend towards references “light”, more and more noticeable today thanks to a wide range of specialties that combine taste and crunchiness to the practicality and lightness of baking. During 2012, this segment recorded a slight increase (+1.2%), which confirms the strong “gallop” of consumption in the last period. It is believed that the consumption of frozen potatoes still has plenty of room for development provided that producers are able to interpret the tastes and habits of the younger generation and in this sense the most representative companies are starting to intensify the leverage of innovation turning to stir products fry and solutions that go beyond the usual boundary almost the potatoes.



In 2012, the segment of frozen fish products in the retail channel showed different trends in different sectors, recording, in any case, consistently positive results, as many as 88% of Italian families has chosen references in this field. The best performance was achieved by the fund of fish breaded and battered (+ 2.6%) and a good result was recorded for the segment of the sticks properly so called, which have become the first segment to the number of households buyers.

Substantial stability in the application showed the sector of natural fish (+ 0.2%), slightly cheaper to customize or enhance in the home.



The sector of frozen meats (red and white) ended 2012 in a largely positive, and segment of the white meat showed an increase of 3.7%, which, if added to the figure recorded in the period 2007-2011 (+ 31% ), leads to an overall increase until all 2012 next to 35%. The segment of red meat has confirmed a very strong progress in 2012, advancing by 7.75% over the previous year, even in this case there is confirmation of the research by the consumer for new recipes or methods of presentation and preparation of products (eg breaded meat + 22%).


Pizza and snack

In 2012 the growth trend of the industrial pizzas showed encouraging progress, mainly due to decline an offer now able to various types of tastes, in addition to the classic Margherita, which remains by far the preferred by the Italians.

The total weight of the sector in the frozen food reaches almost 11% and recorded a total penetration rate at around 63% in the period between 2009 and 2012, the average growth rate in value reached 7.5 points percentages. So, even in the face of critical economic, sales of frozen pizza confirm the good appreciation by consumers towards categories of products characterized by a good service content.


Convenience food

In 2012, the segment of ready-meals continued in a general trend of sharp decline of the total purchased, primarily because of the economic recession and the consequent attention to the price to the consumer, in this second case, the continuing challenge economic. The stasis of purchases, however, can also be explained by the low number of new product launches, which have contributed to freeze the choices of this category of consumers notoriously attracted by the innovative component.

For the future can not be excluded a recovery in consumption in this segment, also considering smaller formats for singles and maximizing the benefits of taste and convenience.


“Door to door” frozen foods are growing

Currently, the market for door-to-door in Italy represents about 11% of the total recorded in 2012 an advance of more than 7%, the sector relies on a universe of loyal customers who recognize in home delivery and the ability to choose and customize their food shopping a real advantage. In addition, the most representative companies in the industry further enhance the profile of frozen foods and their organoleptic characteristics thanks to the strict respect of the cold chain.


The consumption of frozen food in the catering sector

The field of food consumption outside the home suffered a mild slowdown in 2012, but if restaurants, bars and service stations showed a reduction in spending, growing most canteens and places of administration in shopping centers. A growth in the demand for services and products at low cost, which appears to be a lasting trend over time.


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