The frozen food market, which comprises chilled fruits and vegetables, snacks, meat, poultry and seafood, and ready-to-cook meals, has grown significantly in recent years. Rapid rise in the number of modern retail and online grocery stores, and proper refrigeration facilities are the primary reasons for this development. Improved shelf-life and packaging of frozen foods has further propelled growth. Some of the key players that operate in this market are Apex Frozen Foods Ltd., Godrej Agrovet Ltd., ITC Ltd., and Venky’s (India) Ltd.

Market insights:
The market is expected to reach INR 278.68 Bn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of ~17.88% during the 2021 – 2026 period. Increase in the number of millennial and gen-Z consumers opting for convenience food, improved awareness, and acceptance of frozen food are some of the major factors that propelled market growth. In the wake of the pandemic, the e-commerce business has expanded, resulting in high demand for frozen food items. Development of the cold chain infrastructure and constant support from the government are further driving the market. However, inadequate cold storage and poor supply infrastructure hinder its expansion.

Segment insights:

Based on sales channel, the market is segmented into retailers, food service providers, and export. In terms of revenue, the export segment dominated the market, accounting for 44.62% of the overall revenue in 2020. The food service business was severely impacted due to COVID-19 in 2020, and the second and third quarter of 2021. Retailers is the fastest-growing segment because the demand for packaged French fries, burgers, and chicken snacks has picked up amid the pandemic.

COVID-19 impact analysis:
The COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted the frozen food market. However, growth was interrupted during the second wave (April 2021 – May 2021). Nonetheless, steady recovery of retailers and food service providers is expected to drive the market during the forecast period. Consumers’ perception toward the processed frozen food products changed positively as these items ensured better sanitization than the foods available from street-side vendors. During the pandemic, various food and grocery delivery start-ups such as Licious, iD Fresh Foods, and Grofers reported an increase in the sale of ready-to-eat and frozen food items.