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Key Growth Strategies Adopted by Major Players in Global Frozen Food Market

The global frozen food market is estimated at nearly USD 219.9 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach nearly USD 282.5 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 5.1%. The key drivers of the market are developments in the retail landscape, rising demand for convenience food, and technological advancements in the cold chain industry. With the growing penetration of the Internet and smartphone usage, retail grocery shopping is emerging as one of the platforms for companies to showcase and sell their food products; and this is acting as an opportunity for the frozen food market.

Key players that have a strong presence in the frozen food market include General Mills Inc (US), Conagra Brands, Inc. (US), Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. (Mexico), Nestle SA (Switzerland), Unilever (Netherlands), Kellogg Company (US), McCain Foods Limited (Canada), Kraft Heinz Company (US), Associated British Foods plc (UK), Ajinomoto (Japan), Vandemoortele NV (Belgium), Lantmannen Unibake International (Denmark).

Major players in the market are mainly focusing on undertaking expansions for innovating and developing research centers to meet the growing requirements of consumers.

The core strengths of the key players identified in this market are their growth strategies such as new product launches and acquisitions. Undertaking new product launches and expansions have enabled the market players to enhance their presence in the frozen food market. Key players such as Unilever (Netherlands) undertook these strategies to improve their distribution network, gain a stronger foothold, and enhance market share.

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Unilever is  focusing on offering a diverse variety of frozen food products. For example, in December 2018, Ben & Jerry’s, a brand of Unilever (Netherlands), launched a new coconut-flavored vegan ice-cream in the UK. This product launch was part of the company’s expansion strategy in the UK market.

In addition, the company is also focusing on acquisitions. Unilever (Netherlands) acquired Betty Ice (Romania) to strengthen its ice-cream segment. This acquisition would strengthen its position in Romania.

Nestle SA (Switzerland) is one of the largest food & beverage companies, with more than 2000 brands. Apart from food & beverages, the company is also involved in the pharmaceutical business. It manufactures beverages, milk-based products, ice creams, prepared dishes, and pharmaceutical products. Nestle operates globally with its presence across Europe, America, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. The company mainly operates through its subsidiaries and  has 29 R&D facilities, worldwide. It offers its products in 189 countries and has factories in 85 countries.

Unilever is a consumer goods (FMCG) company operating worldwide, with more than 35 brands in categories such as soaps, detergents, shampoos, skin care, toothpaste, deodorants, cosmetics, tea, coffee, packaged foods, ice cream, and water purifiers. The company has six main R&D centers in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, India, and China; these centers work on technologies that are applicable to the product development process. Unilever invests about USD 1 billion in R&D each year. The company’s subsidiaries  include Ben & Jerry’s (US), Kwality Wall (India), Hindustan Unilever (India), Dollar Shave Club (US), Seventh Generation, Inc. (US), Gromart S.p.A. (Italy), and Tazo Tea Company (US).

The company focuses on market strategies such as joint ventures and new product launches. For example, in October 2016, Nestlé and R&R (UK) started Froneri, a new joint venture in ice cream, frozen food, and chilled dairy. Froneri was opened to combine Nestlé and R&R’s ice cream business in the Philippines, Europe, Australia, the Middle East (excluding Israel), South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil

Is the lack of cold chain infrastructure in developing economies challenging the market growth?

Cold chain logistics have proved to be a vital requirement to increase the market share of frozen food in any country. However, developing countries are still lacking in cold chain infrastructure and are unable to supply safe frozen food products to their citizens. Frozen food has a long shelf life; however, due to lack of infrastructure, the product is wasted easily leading to a loss for the manufacturers. Lack of investment due to the monetary crisis in developing economies has been one reason slowing down the cold chain logistics business. This, in turn, has hampered the market. Poor infrastructure in cold chain logistics has also directly impacted the import & export business of frozen food products in developing countries such as Bangladesh, South Africa, and Myanmar.

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