Double figure growth confirms the validity of the sector’s development. Products offer increasingly high quality and a strong service content and respond to a new need for conviviality.
Lockdown has seen a change in the Italians’ shopping habits, as they favour products with a longer shelf life, such as frozen foods for example. And it’s not just vegetables and pre-cooked foods. This is confirmed in the Annual Report on Consumption of Frozen Products by IIAS – Istituto Italiano Alimenti Surgelati, now part of Unione Italiana Food, which presents interesting figures for the first four months of 2020, as well as for 2019 as a whole. And while overall sales in the retail chain were up 13.5% in the first four months of 2020, frozen savoury snacks grew by 21.5% and pizzas by 12.5%.
“Pizzas and frozen snacks that are ready to use and have a long shelf-life have seen considerable growth in retail during the lockdown" – explains Tiziano Zanuto, CEO at Prodal Srl. "Our company, more orientated towards Food Service and Ho.Re.Ca., is now noting growth in the sales of out-of-home frozen bases and pizzas, which continues to expand the frozen range, which guarantees high food safety standards and wholesomeness. We have also had a Bio/Organic line for many years. In addition, we are a BRC, IFS and ISO22000 certified company and impose high quality standards on all our suppliers”.
“Managing the logistics of frozen foods will be one of the biggest challenges, as the consumer has discovered the pleasure of new frozen products directly at home", clarifies Paolo Vaccaro, Marketing Manager at Abbondanza del Pane dal 1945. "We have taken up the challenge, developing new products that move in the direction of healthy eating, using unrefined flours with a high fibre content, and reducing food waste with mini portions. Thanks to continuous technological and product innovation, the Made in Italy can also help us on new markets such as those of Eastern and Northern Europe”.
Andrea Cagna from Impasto Italiano offers a particular slant by combining attention to the product with consultancy: “We create artisan bakery products using cold chain technology. This allows us to obtain top quality products while the cooking is managed only when needed in the store. In this way, f'rozen' has come to mean 'sustainability': 'Like in the good old days without today’s waste'. Our company stands out for the fact that, as well as selling the product, we are five food consultants in the world who offer our know-how to those who want to improve and do well”.
Aside from bread, meat is also doing well
Man shall not live on bread alone, it is written. The meat segment has also benefited from an increased interest in frozen foods during the lockdown, and this has continued through the reopening phase, confirming a trend that began in 2019 according to the same report. White meat, 8850 tons of which were sold in 2019, rose 3.3% with respect to 2018 while 4500 tons of red meat were sold for a 2.4% increase on 2018 figures).
According to Luca Scorcella, Sales Director at Baldi: “As a leading manufacturer of frozen gourmet hamburgers, we noted that our products were a driver during the initial phase of lockdown and then recorded an increase in terms of volume compared to the same period in 2019. The sector responds to a demand for healthy and sustainable nutrition with quality provisions and production processes that can guarantee these, all supported by fitting and effective communication”.
“I speak not only as an operator in the food sector, but also and above all as a consumer. To a greater or lesser extent, we all dedicated more time to cooking, making it an enjoyable moment that involves the whole family", comments Arianna Errante, Marketing Manager at Zini Prodotti Alimentari. "The consumer has also lost that reticence when it comes to frozen foods, exploring products they probably didn't previously know. Zini wants to respond to this growing demand. During the lockdown we never stopped. We worked on a healthy vegetable-based range that has clean labelling and comes in 100% compostable packs. The brand-new cauliflower gnocchi are the result of this research."