Ranges of frozen food finds itself expanding

Oct 4, 2018

Food product companies are all set to expand frozen food products looking beyond traditional frozen foods and are testing with newer ready-to-eat products in an attempt to diversify and make the food more appealing to consumers who have little time for elaborate cooking. Ready-to-eat option will provide a better and easy way with a quick heat-and-eat style.

Initially frozen food industry, offered basic frozen vegetables and fries but current scenario sees a wider range of products, from fruits, vegetables and frozen meats to snacking and full meal options. Companies like Sumeru Foods, ITC, Safal, Freeza, McCain and Amul are trying to push the boundaries and also trying to convince consumers that frozen food is not less healthy than products that are farm plucked.

“The route for growth in this segment is to make customers think otherwise,” said Mithun Appaiah, chief executive of Sumeru Foods. With the help of Alfred Prasad, the youngest Indian chef, the company has tied up to launch a range of products in chicken kebabs, paneer and French fries curated by him, under the Classiques brand. It has also launched unique parathas with different condiments like ajwain, methi and jeera parathas.

Appaiah said the company is trying to break the notion that frozen foods are loaded with preservatives and not so good to eat. The company says it uses an advanced IQF (individual quick freezing) technology that locks nutrition and preserves the natural taste and texture of products. The science of preservation is to store food below 0-degree fahrenheit, which makes bacteria inactive, preventing decaying. Sumeru is also set to launch frozen khichdi, rolls and desserts in coming months.

Amul entered frozen market earlier this year with its Happy Treats brand to provide six varieties in the frozen potato snacks category, including aloo tikki, french fries, potato wedges and veggie stix.

According to Appaiah the companies are investing heavily in their cold storage facilities to expand the frozen food business. ITC said it is increasing the quality frozen space available at retail stores through investment in freezers, as also in digitalising the cold chain to ensure right storage conditions all through the network. “A thing to notice is that the freezing section in refrigerators at homes have grown bigger over the years which shows people are not averse to eating frozen stuff as before,” Appaiah said.

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