Frozen foods are getting more and more popular
In 2009, the German frozen food industry recorded further growth. The total sales volume of frozen foods amounted to 3.22 million tons, an increase of 0.7 percent above the previous year (3.20 million tons), according to the Deutsche Tiefkühlinstitut (=The German Institute for Frozen Foods)
The Institute in Cologne, Germany is supported by the frozen food industry. According to its data, the total turnover amounted to €11,275 billion, a small increase compared to 2008 (€ 11.16).
The popularity of frozen foods remained high with consumers: The average per capita consumption increased by 10.5 ounces to 86.64 pounds, an increase of 0.8 percent. The consumption per household was 179.01 pounds. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of 0.9 percent- at consistent household sizes. This showed a clear increase in consumption.
Frozen food is an important segment of food retailing
The overall development of frozen food in food retailing is extremely solid. With 1.74 million tons, food retailing (including home delivery services and Discounter markets) achieved a surplus of 0.7 percent. On a value basis, at € 6.738 billion the industry produced a sales increase of approximately 1.2 percent. There are slight fluctuations in terms of individual product groups. Frozen fish and frozen vegetables registered a small sales decline. In contrast, the frozen segment for baked goods and snacks marked a slight increase. On the top of the rung are frozen pizzas and frozen dishes, primarily semi-ready foods which turn into a complete meal after adding several items or sides at the stove. According to the Institute for Frozen Foods, brand name and premium products are noticeably gaining importance again. The new trend of cooking in your own home is called “homing“- people eat out less.
80 years of frozen foods
This year the Institute for Frozen Foods marks the 80th birthday of frozen foods. According to the Institute, on March 6, 1930 residents of the small town of Springfield in the US state Massachusetts were able to buy frozen packaged foods for the first time. The offer consisted of vegetables, fruit and fish. At first, retailers used the existing ice-cream chests.
The invention of frozen food is attributed to US marine biologist Clarence Birdseye, who between 1915 and 1922 ventured to Labrador on his expeditions. He noticed that Eskimos preserved their fish for a long time by hanging the freshly caught fish out in the cold air, which measured up to minus 45 degrees. Birdseye had little equipment: seven dollars, ice, salt and an electric fan. This is how he built the first shock freezing plant.
Today‘s recommended storage temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius for frozen foods is based on Birdseye‘s scientific findings. The marine biologist discovered that food is best kept at a temperature of 0 degree Fahrenheit. At 0 degree Fahrenheit, cell activity which would normally cause spoilage, completely stops. 0 degree Fahrenheit equate to minus 18 degrees Celsius.
At the Anuga in 1955, which is the International food fair held in Cologne, Germany received the starting signal for frozen food. Six frozen food manufacturers introduced their products in family size packages to trade representatives. Frozen foods got a real boost when freezers established themselves in households and then again during the eighties with the introduction of microwaves. On their Website, the Institute for Frozen Foods shows a free video on the history of frozen foods, where several pioneers of the food-and retail industry have their say.
Retail is gearing up
Refrigeration in super markets accounts for almost half of operating expenses. „Green Chill“ is not just a buzz word. Retail tries in logistics and in stores to reduce costs by conserving energy.