Despite recent food trends toward fresher, local ingredients, cold is still in style as the frozen food and beverage industry remains an integral part of the US economy. According to a recent study commissioned by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the industry contributed $56 billion to US GDP in 2012 and accounts for 670,000 jobs in 49 states.

“In their quest to offer consumers convenient and nutritious products, frozen food and beverage makers and distributors also make a vital contribution to communities large and small in nearly every corner of the country,” says Kraig Naasz, AFFI president and CEO. “Understanding the positive role served by frozen food and beverage makers aids our efforts to advocate for sensible policies that drive economic growth and ensure the rightful place of frozen food as part of a nutritious diet.”

Conducted by the Policy Navigation Group, the study delivers a comprehensive look at the frozen food and beverage community’s impact on the broader US economy and its contribution to the economies of individual states and US congressional districts.

According to the report, in 2012, each direct job in the frozen industry supported 4.35 jobs elsewhere in the US economy, and the industry’s total impact on US labor income was $35 billion. On a regional level, the industry’s production footprint is evident in every US state, except Wyoming. On average, the study found the industry contributed more than $400 million per state.

The top 10 states in terms of the total number of jobs directly or indirectly attributable to the industry in 2012 were: California (49,000), Washington (33,400), Texas (29,200), Illinois (26,000), Ohio (25,400), Oregon (21,600), Wisconsin (20,300), Florida (17,500), Pennsylvania (15,900) and Tennessee (13,800).

According to the study, retail sales of frozen foods in the US were approximately $33 billion, reflecting a 2.1 percent compound average growth rate from 2007 to 2011. Researchers say they expect future growth to be in line with this upward trend.

Frozen ready meals were the largest market segment of the industry at 36.4 percent. Frozen pizza was the second-most popular product with 14.4 percent, followed by seafood, vegetables, meat and potatoes.

 The full study can be found here