The global frozen, prepared food industry is experiencing phenomenal growth and is expected to reach sales of $186 billion by 2015 (see table below), according to a study from Global Industry Analysts, Inc. The study, Frozen Prepared Food: A Global Outlook, points out three major factors behind the growth. Over the next few years, the markets will be driven by consumers’ needs for convenience, creative product development (especially in microwavable formats) and continuous improvements in commercial refrigeration/freezing technology. In addition, growth opportunities are expected to pop up in emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Ready availability without compromising on quality and freshness make frozen food hot favorites of many consumers. The market mainly consists of frozen pizzas, sandwiches, meat pies, side dishes and ethnic foods.

Frozen, prepared food is a good alternative to fresh, cooked food when busy days shorten the time to prepare meals. Over the years, the increase in the number of working women and changing trends in ethnicity have led to greater indulgence in frozen food. In addition, the study says, the increasing number of nuclear families, rise in disposable incomes, young singles with little or no cooking skills, enhanced awareness of healthful diets and increased interest in ethnic and international foods have served as the impetus to the frozen foods industry.

As the next generation of convenient customer-ready foods begins to hit the market, highly processed microwavable food will rapidly make inroads into the frozen food sections of supermarkets. Pushed by time restraints, modern day consumers are increasingly demanding ready meals that are microwavable. Gaining popularity, says the study, are the chilled and frozen meats categories, driven by innovative product introductions.

Frozen pizzas dominate the prepared foods industry. These pizzas no longer have to conform to traditional flat and circular shapes, but come in a variety of innovative shapes/ structures, such as pizza-on-a stick, pizza pockets and pizza strudel. In 2010, the segment witnessed exponential growth, primarily as the recession forced consumers to look for convenient and economically priced items instead of purchasing takeouts or splurging in dining out. Even though the marketing efforts of pizza chains have made a slight dent in the sales of frozen pizzas, the latter are expected to see sales increases with the introduction of new products and enhanced ingredients as well as promotional strategies.

Rising crust products have pushed frozen pizzas to new heights, with sales skyrocketing by 50 percent over the last half-decade, says the report. Rising crust products account for 32 percent of annual frozen pizza sales. The variety of traditional, ethnic and exotic toppings has fueled the demand for frozen pizzas.

In addition, there has been a rapid shift in consumer choice of frozen desserts in recent years. Consumers are slowly dumping core frozen dessert products for healthier, low-fat frozen desserts, including frozen yogurt. Growing health awareness among consumers has been driving this change in consumer behavior in frozen desserts. The shift in consumer choice for low-fat dessert products is fast encouraging frozen dessert manufacturers to include a wide range of low-fat products, including reduced or low-fat ice creams in their product offerings.

For more information on the study, contact Global Industry Analysts at 408-528-9966.

Current and future analysis for frozen prepared food by geographic region




North America






Asia-Pacific (including Japan)



Rest of World



Total (US millions)



*2011: GIA Estimates;   **2015: GIA Projections

Error tolerance for data in this table is 10% (+/-)

Data is reported at the retail level.

Source: Global Industry Analysts.