Online Frozen Sales Skyrocket 75% in 2020

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Frozen shoppers are equally engaged in delivery and pickup.


Online frozen food sales rose to $7.4 billion versus the year-ago period, according to IRI eMarket Insights for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 1, 2020.

The three largest sellers — frozen dinners/entrees, meat and poultry —each passed $1 billion. Frozen seafood, which was also strong in-store, more than doubled its online sales. E-commerce sales through brick-and-mortar stores is the largest channel, followed by third-party delivery services.

Online sales of frozen food skyrocketed 75% to $7.4 billion in the 52 weeks ended Nov. 1, 2020 versus year-ago levels, according to eMarket Insights from IRI (, the Chicago-based market research firm. The data (see chart) is cited in The Power of Frozen in Retail, a study released last month by the American Frozen Food Institute ( and the Food Industry Association (

E-commerce sales through brick-and-mortar stores is the largest channel, followed by third-party delivery services.

Frozen dinners/entrees, meat and poultry each pulled in sales of more than $1 billion. Frozen seafood, the fourth-largest category, saw its sales more than double — up by 109.1% — to $645 million.

Some 82% of shoppers who bought groceries online between August and October of 2020 included frozen foods in their purchase, according to the study. That breaks out to 36% of grocery shoppers who bought frozen food for delivery, 31% who bought for pickup and 16% who bought for both delivery and pickup. (Percentages are rounded.)

Looking at this from the opposite angle, 51% of frozen food shoppers purchased groceries online during the 2020 three months studied. That’s up from 41% during the same three months in 2018.

Of that 51% of frozen food shoppers who ordered groceries online during the three months of 2020, 53% still do most of their shopping in-store, while 19% shop equally online and in-store. Another 18% do most of their shopping online, while 10% do all their shopping online.

Let’s drill down further into this 51% of shoppers. They’re made up of older (62%) and younger (58%) Millennials. Their other attributes include:

—Shoppers with kids 0-18 living at home (61%) and particularly ages 0-6 (67%).

—High focus on healthy choices (60%).

—Higher household income (59%).

—High-frequency frozen food shoppers (59%).

—Shoppers living along the two coasts in metro areas (59%).

Some 28% of shoppers surveyed in the study said they were less likely to order frozen food online than in-store. But 24% said they are more likely to include frozen foods in their online orders than in-store.

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FR Buyer

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