Frozen Food Retail Trends in the U.S.

Worker in warm apparel using thermometer to assess temperature of frozen packages

[This is the fourth of four briefs covering the state of cold chain logistics.]

Using frozen storage to preserve food has a long history dating back to ancient times; in its earliest form, frozen storage utilized natural ice elements in cold climates. In the late 1920s, a Labradorian engineer named Clarence Birdseye developed a method for flash-freezing foods for mass consumption. The first foods preserved via this method were meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits.

Today, frozen food has expanded far beyond the preservation of foods at their peak freshness. According to the October 2018 issue of Frozen and Refrigerated Buyer Magazine, Americans purchased approximately $13.06 billion worth of frozen foods between late May and mid-August. The most popular of these foods broke down as follows:

Ice cream


Frozen novelties




Single-serve dinners/entrees


Processed chicken/chicken substitute


Chicken/chicken substitute


Handled entrees








Meat (non-poultry)


Multi-serve dinners/entrees


Appetizers/snack rolls


Plain potatoes/fries/hash browns


Through modern techniques and technology, cold chain practices and supply chain have helped to create an immensely diverse grocery infrastructure.

Image Credit: Kokliang /

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