Shoppers head to frozen food aisles to quell 'sizzling hot' inflation spike

Sales of frozen poultry and prepared food have grown in recent months. Credit: PA

Shoppers are opting for frozen meat and meals like pizza and chips as food price inflation continues to add hundreds of pounds to households' grocery shops.

New figures from research firm Kantar showed frozen food sales were on the rise in British supermarkets.

Sales of frozen poultry, such as chicken and game meats, increased in the three months to mid-March, compared with the same period last year.

Frozen prepared food purchases, which includes ready meals, pizzas, chips and pies, also grew. Meanwhile, total grocery sales declined over the same period.

The figures come as supermarket inflation hit 17.5% in the month to March 19, reaching another record high, Kantar said.

As a result, more than £800 could be added to yearly bills for the average household, provided they do not change their spending habits.

Consumers have been taking action by shopping around multiple supermarkets to hunt for bargains, with households going to the shops just over four times a week in March - more than at any point since the start of the pandemic, other than Christmas.

Experts also suggested that people are opting for frozen food over fresh food because it is longer-lasting and less likely to lead to waste.

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: "Shoppers are increasingly opting to buy frozen instead of fresh as part of efforts to quell the devastating impact of sizzling hot inflation on their finances.

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"Choosing frozen produce also allows you to use as much or as little food without the rest of the pack going past its best, which reduces wastage and saves money.

"Baskets are getting smaller and more of us are ditching premium brands for cheaper alternatives, while many are reducing spend on 'nice-to-have' items."

Shoppers are switching to discounters like Aldi and Lidl, Mr Jobson added, with both rapidly increasing their share of the market in recent months.

Meanwhile, the executive chairman of frozen food supermarket Iceland Foods, Richard Walker, said the consumer spending trend was not surprising as more shoppers headed for the value-for-money frozen aisles.

He said: "It's no surprise to our business, which over the past 50 years has been built around the advantages of frozen food, that more shoppers are waking up to this more budget-friendly option during these challenging economic times."