In the 12 weeks to 14 June Iceland's sales grew by 11%, with 5.8% from fresh and chilled sales, 2.1% from ambient sales and just 1.1% from frozen, and the rest in household and alcohol.
"A substantial gear change is going on at Iceland," Kantar communications director Ed Garner told The Grocer's Trade Promotions Conference.
"Frozen foods are relatively flat and they are saying 'hang on, we've an estate that is a perfect convenience market', particularly having bought 50 stores from Woolies in the past year."
Iceland's sharp pricing on staples such as coffee, tea and milk bolstered this trend. It had been selling four pints of milk for £1 during this period, compared with £1.53 at Tesco and Asda, added Garner. "Why do mums go to Iceland? To buy milk," he quipped.
However, Iceland CEO Malcolm Walker said there had been no change in strategy and the number of SKUs in each category had remained the same "for years". "In different periods you get growth in different categories," he said. "The warm weather has been helping sales of fresh products. Frozen food is where we put all our effort and energy because it's the reason people come to us."
Meanwhile, Farmfoods saw 11.2% of its 12.6% growth from fresh and chilled categories in the same period, while sales of frozen food declined by 0.5%. Fresh and chilled food now accounts for 25.5% of its sales mix.