By Michael Costa

Top 150 Frozen Foods Processors Report

Can Frozen Foods Ride the Pandemic Push That Shattered Sales Records Last Year?

The frozen foods industry looks to capitalize on last year’s momentum with a continued focus on growing its customer base, while expanding category options for shoppers.

What else can be said about the stellar performance of frozen foods in 2020? Every single category saw unprecedented leaps in year-over-year (YOY) growth, driven by a population immersed in pandemic precautions, and consequently eating the majority of their meals at home.

Frozen foods offer the combination of convenience, variety, value and longevity that many other foods can’t match, and were perfectly suited to 2020’s homebound circumstances. Approximately 7% of consumers bought frozen foods for the first time in 2020, according to the American Frozen Food Institute’s (AFFI) most recent Power of Frozen report, which was compiled with market research firm IRI.

Other statistics from 2020 tell the story of an extraordinary year for the industry. These numbers come from AFFI’s Power of Frozen report, and from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), who compiled retail frozen food sales in 2020 with market research firm Nielsen:

  • Frozen foods sold $67.5 billion in 2020, moving 17.3 billion units, an increase of nearly 21% from 2019. In contrast, the YOY growth for frozen foods from 2018 to 2019 was just 2% (NFRA).
  • During the peak pandemic purchasing timeframe (March 2020), YOY sales of frozen foods were 53% higher than March 2019 (AFFI).
  • Ice cream and frozen novelties combined for $14.4 billion, up from $11.3 billion in 2019 (AFFI and NFRA).
  • Frozen seafood saw the largest gain of any product, selling $1.6 billion more than 2019, for a total of $6.8 billion—a 35% YOY increase (AFFI).
  • Frozen pizza sold $6.1 billion, while frozen entrées sold $10.3 billion, for a combined $16.4 billion, compared to $9.3 billion in 2019 (AFFI and NFRA).
  • Approximately 9% of consumers purchased kitchen appliances in 2020 to cook frozen foods at home. These include air fryers, Instant Pots, pizza ovens, and more (AFFI).
  • About 77% of total frozen food sales in 2020 were from national brands, down from 80.4% in 2015. Private label growth increased during that time by 22.8%, but national brands still dominate with $7.3 billion in sales, compared to $2.8 billion for private label foods in 2020 (AFFI).
  • Approximately 70% of frozen foods customers are interested in plant-based options today, with the majority of them adopting a flexitarian diet, as opposed to straight vegan or vegetarian eating (AFFI).
  • Among high-frequency frozen foods consumers, 46% say resealable packaging is very important, while 37% say sustainable frozen foods packaging is also very important (AFFI).
  • The continued rise of e-commerce for frozen foods (home delivery, curbside pickup, direct-to-consumer shipping) was boosted by pandemic precautions for shoppers, accounting for $7.4 billion in sales—a 75% increase over 2019 (AFFI).

The success of frozen foods in 2021 will depend on several factors, including whether people have made purchasing, cooking and consuming frozen foods a permanent at-home habit, and whether foodservice—which was essentially wiped out by COVID-19—makes a full comeback with on-premise dining.

From any perspective though, it looks like frozen foods are poised to continue growing in 2021, and while they likely won’t reach the sales peaks of 2020, anything close to double-digit YOY growth in 2021 will be viewed as a major success, particularly since YOY growth for frozen foods was stuck in the low single digits (or even negative growth) for years before 2020.

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By Michael Costa
Michael Costa is Editor-In-Chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods
Recipe, Organism, Ingredient, Cuisine

Infographic courtesy of AFFI.

pizza, drink, food

Meals & Entrées

Includes frozen pizza, breakfast items, handheld foods, bagged meal kits, pasta meals, dinners and prepared foods.

salmon, fish, seafood

Meat, Poultry & Seafood

Includes frozen beef, poultry, pork, lamb, game and seafood.

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Snacks, Appetizers & Sides

Includes frozen prepared snacks, appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, side dishes, breakfast items and potato specialties.

Our Rankings

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ annual Top 150 Frozen Foods Processors Report is a snapshot of the top 25 frozen foods processors in six categories: Meals & Entrees; Snacks, Appetizers & Sides; Meat, Poultry & Seafood; Dairy; Fruits & Vegetables; and Bakery.

This report represents Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ best efforts to reflect recent sales data based on annual reports, news releases, and statistics from our sister publications Dairy Foods and National Provisioner, and other business media sources. Because most companies do not separate frozen sales from their total sales, the figures are either company-wide or segmented by region (North American sales, for example).

If you work for a company on this list and know the approximate sales data of the frozen products your business produces, please contact me and I will update this page.

Apple pie on black board


Includes frozen breads, cakes, pies, dough, tortillas, breadsticks, pizza crusts, rolls, biscuits sweet goods and pastries.

ice cream, cones, fruits


Includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen novelties and desserts.

salad dish, mixed salad, vegetable salad

Fruits & Vegetables

Includes frozen fruits and vegetables.


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Video by [Vidiographer DuxX/[Collection Creatas Video] via Getty Images

Frozen seafood—like this salmon filet—had the highest year-over-year dollar growth of any frozen product in 2020, at +35.3%, according to the AFFI/IRI Power of Frozen report.

Frozen pizza sold $6.1 billion in 2020—an increase of $885 million over 2019—with a year-over-year dollar growth of +9.4%, according to the AFFI/IRI Power of Frozen report.

Dress shirt, Forehead, Smile, Cheek, Eye, Sleeve, Gesture, Collar, Happy
Michael Costa
Michael Costa is Editor-In-Chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods.