Food manufacturers and brand owners are reinventing the frozen food category with a host of healthy and innovative meals that compare with the best fresh food offerings.

While sales of many traditional frozen foods remain challenged, new premium offerings are popping up on freezer shelves nationwide, including gourmet entrées, restaurant-at-home dishes and a diversity of better-for-you options. Many of today’s restaurant-savvy consumers enjoy these types of meals, but do not have the combination of skill and time to duplicate them at home. They can now do so thanks to innovative food processors often using creative packaging approaches.

Many new frozen foods are already attracting increased interest from certain demographic groups, including Millennials. According to a report produced by Acosta Sales & Marketing, Jacksonville, Fla., 43% of Millennials surveyed said they had purchased more frozen foods this year than the year before.

Impulse buys

Modern packaging designs and varieties, including flexible packaging, can motivate shoppers to try certain food items for the first time. That’s important to keep in mind when discussing premium frozen foods, which are often impulse buys. Stand-up flexible bags, for example, attract the eye, as they perch conspicuously in upright freezer cases, while see-through windows allow consumers to view package contents. Vivid images and colorful graphics, made possible with advanced flexographic and rotogravure printing technologies, whet the appetite and stimulate sales. Print enhancements such as matte finishes are also available from packaging suppliers.  

Ultimately, each consumer’s journey is different. The brand’s challenge is to customize packages to meet specific consumer needs.

More convenience

To attract repeat customers, frozen food products must deliver on consumer expectations, and the expectations go well beyond taste and flavor. A product that’s difficult to access might not be tried a second time, regardless of how delicious it tastes. Many packaging features can contribute to the overall product experience and make it more enjoyable. These include easy-to-open elements that give quick access to product contents and are especially helpful for seniors. Also, effective closing features keep the contents securely sealed, prevent spoilage and reduce food waste.        

Food manufacturers and brand owners can profit by using innovative packaging to highlight their frozen food products, ignite interest and boost enjoyment.