Frozen food sales set new records in Italy with consumption reaching 16 kilograms per head in 2021 from 15.2 kilograms in 2020, a recent report by IIAS (Italian Frozen Foods Institute) has unveiled.
In this period, overall sales increased 5.1% to 941,561 tonnes.
The report, entitled Annual Report on the Consumption of Frozen Products, also noted that the market value of the sector will fluctuate between €4.6 billion and €4.8 billion in 2021, up 5.3% on 2020 figures.
The retail market accounted for 66.4% of sales, or 605,000 tonnes (up 1.7% compared with 2020), while sales in the out-of-home market reached 240,000 tonnes, recording a 19.6% growth after a 37% drop in 2020 due to lockdowns and forced closures.
E-commerce and door-to-door sales stood at 96,000 tonnes, or about 10% of all frozen food consumption in Italy, with online sales growing 20.6% in volume and 17.4% in value in 2021.
Initial figures from 2022 indicated a slight slowdown in the retail channel, while out-of-home consumption continued to recover, driven by the further relaxation of restrictive measures, the study noted.
Vegetables topped the list of favourite frozen foods in Italy (255,400 tonnes), followed by fish (113,300 tonnes) and potatoes (85,700 tonnes).
Elsewhere, the consumption of pizzas and snacks continued to increase (up 1.8% to 92,400 tonnes), as well as pre-prepared dishes (up 10.2% to 37,400 tonnes).
Over the last two years (2019-2021), exports of Italian frozen pizzas grew by 18.1% in value and 17.7% in volume.
According to IIAS, the frozen foods sector has confirmed its ‘great vitality’, despite numerous difficulties, such as the continuation of the pandemic, increases in energy and raw material prices, growing problems in logistics and transport, and, the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with the consequent tightening of international relations.
In this context, the US market is becoming strategically important for Italian frozen food exports, it noted.