More than half of Italian consumers (54%) have increased their consumption of frozen food since 2020, according to a new study.
A report prepared by the Italian Institute of Frozen Foods (IIAS) alongside BVA Doxa indicates that the trend is more pronounced in the south than in the north of Italy, and among young people and families with young children.
Lockdowns, more time spent at home, and a growing propensity to stock up on foodstuffs have led to a boom in the consumption of frozen products in all segments over the past two years.
Some 18% said that they have increased consumption 'significantly', with 36% reporting a 'moderate' increase in consumption.
For the first time in Italy, in 2020, per-capita annual consumption of frozen products exceeded 15kg.
The under-35s are the most frequent users of frozen products, consuming them, on average, more than twice a week.
Currently, almost 98% of Italians consume frozen food, and this applies to all age groups, geographical areas and family types, with 61% claiming that they consume frozen food at least twice a week.
As a result, an increasing number of families are changing their freezers or refrigerators in favour of larger appliances, with a 32.3% increase in the sale of new freezers in 2020 and a 40% increase in the sale of large refrigerators.
Among those polled, 74% said that, in the last two years, they have purchased frozen products that they had never tried.
Vegetables, fish and pizzas have been confirmed as the must-have products, post-COVID.
Practicality (70%), variety (37%) and reducing waste (25%) are the main drivers that have pushed consumers to increase their purchasing of frozen food, the study noted.
There has also been a growth in online purchases of frozen food – up by 21% in 2021 alone.