Honored by the American Film Institute as a top 10 science-fiction pick, “Back to the Future” takes movie viewers back to a time when televisions, and by default, TV dinners were new. What a rare opportunity, huh? Wouldn’t it great to know how the future unfolds while you look back on past events? Although we don’t have that privilege, I’m glad to learn that several market observers predict a future where we’re going back to frozen foods.

As if teenagers don’t have enough stress. In the 1985 hit film, “Back to the Future,” young Marty McFly (actor Michael J. Fox) is accidentally transported from 1985 to 1955. The plot then twists as Marty meets his teenage parents in high school and draws his mother’s romantic interest. Marty then must repair the potential damage to history by getting his parents to fall in love - all while figuring out a way to return to the future.

 Honored by the American Film Institute as a top 10 science-fiction pick, “Back to the Future” takes movie viewers back to a time when televisions, and by default, TV dinners were new.


What a rare opportunity, huh? Wouldn’t it great to know how the future unfolds while you look back on past events? Although we don’t have that privilege, I’m glad to learn that several market observers predict a future where we’re going back to frozen foods. 

Providing a quick glance at the present was Seattle’s Allrecipes group. In its 2009 Shopping Behaviors Survey, Allrecipes found that (1) more than four out of five food dollars are spent on foods prepared at home, and that consumers are managing costs by freezing food (52 percent), buying in bulk (49 percent), using more coupons (46 percent) and shopping at several stores for the best price (40 percent). More than two in five respondents (43 percent) said they purchased frozen or canned fruit and vegetables instead of fresh, while 38 percent applied the same strategy to frozen meats or seafood. In its 2009 report, “Frozen Foods in the U.S.,” New York researcher Packaged Facts said retail packaged frozen food sales grew by 6.5 percent to $51.8 billion. 

Although researchers expect this growth to slow to under 5 percent per year, it still involves a big base and even a one percent rise equates to more than $500 million. Looking further ahead, Packaged Facts projects that - regardless of world economic conditions - retail frozen food sales will increase by 25 percent by 2013 to $64.8 billion. Of course, the refrigerated and frozen food world actually is much larger. We also report on product sold into the foodservice channel and a large percentage of these items also are frozen. 

Encouragingly, processor vendors will have more new customers to target. Market researcher Technomic Inc., Chicago, projects that as many as 700 new fast-casual restaurant chains will emerge this year. Meanwhile, India’s RNCOS market research business remains optimistic about growth in U.S. fast food sector. “We have found that - in this phase of recession - fast food sales in the United States are increasing,” the firm said. “. . . Consumer expenditures on fast food have risen sharply during the past few years and accounted for around 30 percent of total restaurant industry sales in 2008. 
With busy lifestyles, cost advantages and increasing demands for convenience foods, the total fast food industry in the U.S. is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 5 percent through 2010.”