This article is part of our Frozen digital feature.

Online and discounters are the only warm spots in an otherwise struggling frozen food sector. Virtual sales are up 10.3%, while bricks & mortar stores have suffered 1.2% losses [Kantar 52 w/e 6 December 2015].

The biggest in-store losses were seen by Asda, Morrisons and independents, down 5.6%, 3.8% and 12.4% respectively. Aldi and Lidl, which have no online presence, have seen value sales surge 12.6% and 10.1% respectively. 

“Discount retailers aren’t necessarily doing anything specific in the frozen category to drive sales, and the increase in volume can be attributed to a wider channel shift,” says Steve Chantry, Birds Eye marketing director.

Online, meanwhile, caters to the needs of shoppers and bypasses the physical barriers in-store, which can be off-putting to consumers.

“Frozen has always performed well online due to its very nature; the convenience of having it delivered safe in the knowledge that it won’t defrost on its journey home makes shoppers more likely to buy frozen food online,” says Claire Mitchell, category controller at Green Isle UK, which manufactures Goodfella’s pizza. “And browsing the frozen area is also much more of a pleasant experience for shoppers online than it is in store.”

Birds Eye is going one step further to make online shopping easier, having developed click-to-cart mechanisms – such as Slingshot, a tool that lets fans on social media add items to online baskets at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado with one click.

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