The future of frozen foods looks hot.

When compared to an unprecedented 2020, frozen food sales thawed last year, with $69 billion in sales and 1.4% dollar growth YOY, according to statistics from the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA).

While the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic drove a surge in stockpiling and an explosion in DTC and e-commerce that led to double-digit YOY growth in 2020, in contrast, the YOY growth for frozen foods from 2018 to 2019 was just 2%.

Overall, sales remain more than 20% above pre-pandemic levels, according to the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI).

Research shows that new flavors and innovative product development over the last several years also created more dedicated frozen food consumers, which tend to purchase more products more often. “Core frozen food consumers,” defined by AFFI as those who consume frozen food daily or every few days, rose from 35% in 2018, to 39% in 2020.

You can read more in the Top 150 Frozen Foods Processors Report.

Other features in the March issue include our second profile in the Hot Cities for Cold Storage series and a look at vertical cold storage construction trends. They say everything is bigger in Texas and the demand for cold storage is no different. We look at the 11 county Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and some of the latest projects calling DFW home. As the demand for cold storage facilities continues to climb, so do some of the buildings.

For the C-Suite Q&A, we sit down with Matt Billings, a fourth-generation almond farmer who is bringing “nature’s perfect treat” to the masses through AYO Almondmilk Yogurt.

Two columns feature looks at automation trends in supply chain and logistics (Supply Chain & Logistics) and the latest in cell-based proteins (Alternative Proteins).

Lastly, this issue features some of the latest product offerings in frozen snacks, appetizers & side dishes (New Retail Products); a roundup of filling, depositing & sorting equipment (Packaging Equipment); and belts and conveyor equipment (Technology Showcase).