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Deloitte Insights is out with the third annual edition of its Future of Fresh series, focusing this time on the competition between fresh and frozen foods.

An excerpt:

"Fresh sales were up over 10% in 2020, reaching unexpected new highs.1 The initial big question for 2021 was whether this increased demand could be sustained. Many were concerned that competition from the return of restaurants would cause retail food sales to plummet. Yes, sales are indeed off their highs, but sales in the first half of 2021 still significantly outpaced those of 2019. Fresh seems likely to leave this pandemic period better off in terms of revenue than before it started.  For the consumer, eating at home is sticking around and that’s great news for fresh.

"But another kind of competition is lurking just a few aisles over. The market for frozen food is less than half the size of fresh. Frozen is the David to fresh’s Goliath. However, frozen food sales were up 21% in 2020; basically double the growth of fresh food sales in that same period.  Within frozen, the closest equivalents to fresh food (namely, a combined group of frozen meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, and vegetables) grew even faster and so far in 2021, frozen growth continues to outpace fresh. In the food fight, to capture growth in at-home consumption, frozen appears to have gained an advantage. Why? Will it continue?"

You can check out the entire report here.