The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), Harrisburg, Pa., recently released the “NFRA 2019 State of the Industry Report,” which shows that today's dairy and frozen departments are clearly connecting with shoppers. The departments realized combined sales of $125 billion in the 52 weeks ending June 29, 2019, NFRA said. Nearly every U.S. household buys from the frozen and dairy departments annually, and the diverse appeal of these products crosses generational, multicultural and socioeconomic demographics.

With an average buying frequency of 70 trips per year, shoppers are coming to the store more than once a week to make a purchase from the dairy and frozen aisles. The average dairy and frozen department shopper spends $13.44 per trip, NFRA said, making these departments important for increasing the dollar sales of each shopping basket.

"Both the frozen and dairy departments have strong, broad appeal among consumers with the potential to drive short- and long-term growth for retailers,” said NFRA President and CEO Skip Shaw. “In 2019, dollar and unit sales increased in both departments, attesting to consumers' renewed excitement about the innovative products they can find there,".

The dairy department is the second-largest edible department in the supermarket (excluding alcoholic beverages) with sales of $71 billion and delivering $550 million in year-over-year growth, NFRA said. Sixty-eight percent of all dairy department sales are concentrated in the top-five selling categories – cheese ($16.3 billion), milk products ($13.3 billion), beverages ($8.6 billion), yogurt ($7.2 billion) and eggs ($5.8 billion).

More than 90% of households purchase cheese, eggs, milk products, and butter and margarine, NFRA said. The dairy aisle drives 47 trips per buying household annually, with milk products and cheese topping the shopping list. Female head of households aged 35- to 44-years-old drive 21% greater sales than other U.S. households.

"Today's modern dairy aisle has evolved to meet consumers' changing needs," Shaw said. "It's a destination for products that fit every lifestyle, including dairy staples, plant-based alternatives and new innovative foods and beverages to satisfy every taste and dietary need. It's dairy and so much more."

Conducted by Nielsen and compiled by Todd Hale LLC, the “NFRA 2019 State of the Industry Report” identifies key opportunities to drive sustained growth and ensure the frozen and refrigerated food categories receive the proper level of shelf space and merchandising support they deserve, NFRA said.

NFRA's report is free to NFRA members as a benefit of membership. The Executive Summary is available to the public here.