New research by Datassential shows frozen foods are an essential ingredient for the nation’s foodservice operators, with nearly ubiquitous use by operators of all types. However, operators are hungry for innovation.
“Frozen has a strong foothold at foodservice, with even more opportunity for growth ahead,” said American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) president and CEO Alison Bodor.

Conducted on behalf of AFFI, the study is the first to explore operator attitudes and perceptions about frozen foods, purchase drivers and uses, and identify how manufacturers and distributors can most effectively meet operator needs and strengthen demand for frozen food in foodservice. Datassential based its findings on a survey of 426 commercial and non-commercial operators.
Overall, the category delivers on operators’ need for quality, taste and consistency. Additionally, those surveyed cited long shelf life, year-round availability, convenience, ease of preparation, product consistency, reduced prep time, and affordability/value as the top benefits of frozen foods.
Other key findings include:
• 89% of operators purchase frozen foods and beverages.
• Roughly half (47%) of operators’ yearly purchases are frozen products.
• Staples such as meats/poultry and potatoes lead the category in purchases, followed by vegetables.
These results are consistent with findings from AFFI’s groundbreaking Power of Frozen retail study in 2019, which showed strong consumer loyalty to frozen food.

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