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U.S. retail sales of frozen snacks reached $4.5 billion in 2012, representing a 13-percent increase compared to 2007. Research firm Mintel projects that frozen snack sales will jump even more by 2017, when it expects U.S. sales to top $5 billion.
Frozen handheld entrees account for 56 percent of all U.S. frozen snack sales, followed by frozen appetizers/snack rolls and frozen pretzels.
What specific varieties of frozen snacks are consumers buying? According to a February Mintel survey of 2,000 Internet users aged 18-plus, Italian-style snacks — such as pizza bites and toasted ravioli — lead the frozen appetizers/snack rolls segment. Thirty-nine percent of all those surveyed said they bought such snacks for themselves.
However, Mexican- and Asian-style snacks are closely nipping at Italian snacks’ heels. In fact, Mexican and Asian frozen snacks were most popular among the females Mintel surveyed.
As for frozen handheld entrees, burritos and Hot Pocket-style products tied as the most popular items purchased in this segment. One-third of those surveyed said they buy each of these frozen items for themselves, with little variation among the genders.
Seventeen percent of consumers in the survey said they buy frozen pretzels for themselves.