The frozen food sector has endured a steady decline across most of its segments, like entrées and pizza, and companies like Nestlé and ConAgra Foods — which owns Marie Callender’s and Banquet — are hard at work trying to turn things around.
Nestlé, for instance, invested $50 million in a new research and development center where employees are tasked with tasting with thousands of frozen food recipes each year. “It typically takes 100 recipes to get to a single product,” Sean Westcott, the center’s director, told The New York Times in a profile entitled “TV Dinners in a Netflix World.”
It’s not a huge surprise that frozen foods are falling out of favor, considering that everywhere you look, major companies are scrambling to remove any product component with the wrong reputation — like GMOs, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives — in an effort to stay relevant, and more importantly, profitable.
Moreover, the change in consumer attitudes is such that that no matter how many concessions these companies make, shoppers are increasingly turning to fresh ingredients for their meals.
“With everybody promoting fresh and local, there’s a lot of noise out there for those type[s] of items and not a whole lot of noise about frozen foods,” Judy Wells, a manager for Kroger’s frozen foods sector, told the Times. “A lot of the traditional suppliers of frozen food kind of let the conversation get away from them, and now they’re having to catch up.”