In 1948, when frozen food first arrived in Britain, only the rich could afford it. Sixty years on, frozen food has gone upmarket again, boosting sales and drawing shoppers to the freezer cabinets.

Ranges have been expanded and millions ploughed into advertising as manufacturers and retailers bid to shake off frozen's image as a poor-tasting, unhealthy and cheap alternative to fresh food.

The result? In the 52 weeks to 24 February 2008, sales jumped 4.2% to £4.7bn. [TNS].

Some of this can be attributed to higher prices but not all of it. The volume of frozen food sold in the same period was up 1%, an increase of 20 million kg.

Fish, in particular, is enjoying a return to the limelight, pulling in more than £654m, 11% more than the previous year.

Sales of frozen vegetables are also up 5.5% to £366m.

And while frozen ready meals continue to struggle, with sales falling 3%, the decline has slowed on the previous year's 7% dip.

As well as keen pricing, the frozen food sector has benefited from premiumisation and reformulation of lines to address health concerns.

Birds Eye Eat Positive, the Findus Jean-Christophe Novelli range and Young's Great Grimsby Fish have been among the most successful new additions to the aisle.

Focus on Frozen p41

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