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The Most Popular Grocery Store Aisle Isn't What You Think, Says New Report

It's not the snack aisle after all.

When it comes to grocery store aisles, one might think that the most popular section may be the snack aisle. But in fact, according to a new report, a more surprising aisle is the country's most popular at the moment.

The frozen food aisle of a supermarket is the most popular in the country, according to a recent report by Mordor Intelligence. While COVID-19 negatively impacted the restaurant industry, it "positively impacted the frozen food market."

According to the report, frozen food products witnessed a 21% increase in 2020 compared to the year before. Overall this year, compared to last year the frozen food sector is up 230% in contrast to fresh foods.

That's mainly because shoppers were limited in the amount of time they could spend at the grocery store during the pandemic. People needed to maintain social distancing while grocery shopping, so shoppers would stockpile frozen foods to store away to last a few weeks when they could go.

Saffron Road, a clean-label frozen food brand, noticed an uptick in sales over the past few months. They've been making more sales than ever before.

woman choosing frozen food at grocery store

Related: These Are Costco's Most Popular Items Right Now

"The last six months, we've been on a tear," Adnan Durrani, Saffron Road CEO, told Yahoo Finance, adding that the brand has seen record months every month.

Durrani explained that this growth rate of frozen food brands is something he's never seen before in his decades-spanning career.

Historically, "fresh usually always outpaces frozen, but what we're seeing now is a dramatic shift."

Why is that, you ask? There's a very simple reason: frozen food lasts longer in storage than fresh food. Other than that, it all has to do with maintaining flavor and nutritional value.

"Frozen is nature's pause button," Durrani said, emphasizing that frozen products, especially organic and locally-sourced food items, "preserve that freshness" over time and allow for longevity with "over a year shelf life."

Throughout the pandemic, which led to severe supply chain backlogs, consumers "were very concerned about the poor performance of fresh."

"The sell-by dates got shortened because of the supply chain," Durrani said. "People were also making fewer trips to the store, so items were sitting on the shelf for quite a while."

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), up to 40% of all food in the U.S. goes uneaten, with 87% of food waste coming from fresh vegetables, fruit, and bread.

"A lot of folks are really conscious of [food waste] now—looking at their grocery bills, looking at how much they really throw away, looking at what they keep. Frozen has become a go-to in terms of reducing that problem," Durrani explained.

Hungry for more grocery news? Check out It's Cheaper Than Ever To Get A Costco Membership Right Now.

Kristen Warfield
Kristen Warfield is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz’s journalism program in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Read more about Kristen