Europe dominated the global frozen food market in 2020

2020 has seen record sales in the frozen food sector. According to Frozen Food Europe, Europe had the largest share of the global frozen food market in 2020. Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa are projected to be the fastest-growing markets during the 2020-2025 period. 

In 2020, many countries worldwide have either closed their international and local state borders or issued lockdowns in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. This has boosted the demand for frozen food. 


According to a survey by the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the top six reasons for purchasing more frozen food during the pandemic were: the long shelf life of frozen foods, consumers’ desire to stock up food in case of shortages, enabling consumers to reduce the frequency of grocery shopping, the ease of preparation, saving time on meal preparation and cleaning and, consumers’ belief that “frozen foods are safer than fresh items right now”. [1] 


According to Frozen Food Europe, the global frozen food market was estimated at USD 244.3 billion in 2020 and is projected to account for USD 312.3 billion by 2025, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% from 2020 to 2025.  


In 2020, Europe dominated the global frozen food market, accounting for more than 30% of market shares, followed by North America. [2]  


The frozen food market in Europe 


Germany, France, and the UK account for more than 50% of the frozen food market in Europe. [2] 


Aside from offering a broad consumer base with high purchasing power, Germany attracts both manufacturing companies and exporters thanks to its good infrastructure. Germany is currently a leader in the development of preservation technologies, which is a driving force behind the growth of the frozen food market. 


In France, frozen food sales have benefited from government-mandated lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to “Le Monde du Surgelé”, sales of frozen savoury products increased by 13% in value and 11% in volume in 2020 (year-to-date increase from the beginning of 2020 to 29 November 2020). [3] In the last week of 2020, for the end-of-year celebrations, there was a 16% increase in sales for frozen savoury products and a 21% increase for frozen sweet products, compared to the same period in 2019. [4]  


The frozen food market in North America 


The United States was the leading frozen food market in North America in 2020. In the US, data from the AFFI indicate that after a 94% sales surge in mid-March, total frozen food sales maintained a 30-35% increase in April 2020compared to April 2019. [5]  


The frozen food market in Asia, the Middle East and Africa  


The Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions are projected to be the fastest-growing markets, with a CAGR of 7-9% from 2020 to 2025. Economic growth in these regions is driving consumer adoption of frozen foods. [2] 


Top-selling frozen food products [2] 


Frozen vegetables account for more than 90% of the world market for frozen fruits and vegetables. Unlike frozen fruits, most frozen vegetables do not require thawing, which saves time. Peas and spinach hold a larger share in the global frozen vegetable market. Top spinach importers include Germany, Japan, the US, France, and Italy. Globally, Europe is the largest consumer and exporter of frozen vegetables. In Germany, the fruit and vegetable segment is projected to be the fastest growing segment, due to the growing popularity of vegetarian foods and vegan diets. 


Bread is one of the main food items consumed regularly in North America and Europe. This provides growth opportunities for frozen bread manufacturers in these markets. The global frozen bakery market is estimated at nearly USD 17.4 billion, with a projected growth rate between 4% and 5% until 2025.  


Overall, growing consumer interest in “convenience” food products is one of the major factors driving global growth. Frozen convenience foods include any pre-cooked food that still needs to be cooked a little before consumption, such as frozen soup, frozen meat or seafood dishes, etc. In 2020, the convenience food segment dominated the market, accounting for almost 31% of the market share in 2020 and is projected to continue to grow at steady pace. 


Future trends  


Frozen food products maintain their nutritional value for long periods of time. Analysts suggest, however, that beyond the pandemic, the long shelf time of frozen foods may not remain a crucial selling point. Manufacturers should highlight their products' taste, health and convenience qualities. [6] Indeed, consumers appear to be opting for food products with high nutritional value and health benefits. For instance, the growth of the frozen food market in Germany is expected to be driven by health and wellness trends. [2]  

Worldwide, market growth in the coming years depends on key factors such as efficient cold chain infrastructures, the need for constant temperature monitoring, and renewed consumer interest in frozen food products. [2] 




[2] “Frozen food convenience market. The category that never goes out of style.” Frozen Food Europe Nov-Dec 2020.