Summary of our market study

The French frozen food market is estimated at around 9 billion euros.

The global frozen food market has grown significantly, with the European market holding over 35% of the share.

Europe is characterized by high consumption in countries such as Germany, the UK and France.

The market is driven by growing consumer demand for ready-to-cook meals, particularly among millennials. A report by Grand View Research estimated the value of the market at $177.07 billion in 2021, with average annual growth projections of 5.2% leading to $279 billion in 2030.

The fast-food sector, a major consumer of frozen ready meals, saw an upward trend of 5% in the out-of-home catering market in 2021 compared to 2020, but still down 11% on 2019 levels.

The pandemic has changed eating habits, boosting home cooking and demand for frozen foods.

Transformative trends in the French frozen food market

Despite setbacks such as the horsemeat scandal, which shook consumer confidence, the French frozen food market rebounded to reach around 9 billion euros. Almost all French households consume frozen foods.

Consumers are turning to frozen foods that require a minimum of preparation effort. This trend has fueled the growth of the ready-to-heat meals sector, which dominates the frozen foods market.

The fast-food industry, known for its intensive use of frozen ready-made meals, has become a major growth driver for the market.

The market is also driven by the widespread use of frozen foods in educational establishments, retirement homes and healthcare establishments.

Distribution channels for B2C frozen foods have been diversified, but supermarkets and hypermarkets are the leaders with 58% of the market.

Specialized frozen food stores are gaining ground, with banners such as Picard, Thiriet, Place du Marché and Ecomiam

Picard, in particular, has over a thousand stores in France, and Thiriet is the second-largest specialist retailer.

Technological advances mean that traditional freezing methods can now be abandoned. The hydrotreatment protection technique now offers an alternative.

Market players :

  • Picard: The undisputed specialist and market leader.
  • Thiriet: Second only to Picard
  • Place du marché (ex Toupargel):
  • Ecomiam: a big name in specialized distribution

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition

Deep-freezing is the process of rapidly lowering the temperature of a foodstuff, while still fresh and wholesome, to -18°C at the core. Freezing, a similar but less efficient process, offers less rapid cooling.

There are several techniques for freezing a product:

  • Contact freezing, reserved for thin foods (fish fillets, for example), is achieved by introducing the food between two plates through which a fluid circulates at -35°C.
  • The forced-air circulation technique, better suited to smaller products such as vegetables, involves placing products in tunnels where freezing air (-35°C) circulates rapidly.
  • The immersion method, adapted to irregularly-shaped products, involves immersing the food in a fluid at a very low temperature, such as liquid nitrogen.
  • IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) involves immersing foodstuffs in a liquid gas. More expensive, it is better suited to fragile products.

These complex industrial techniques mean that the core temperature of products must always be maintained below -18°C, which presents distributors with a real technical challenge.

This study on frozen products will focus on the different market segments, business-to-business and business-to-consumer, and the different forms they can take. Regarding B2C trade, the GSA (Grandes Surfaces Alimentaires) is in the lead, with total sales of 2.4 billion euros in 2021, compared with 921.2 million euros for specialist chains. [LSA]

1.2 The global market

According to a study by Grand View Research, the global frozen food market is estimated at $***.** billion in ****. Average annual growth is expected to be *.*% between **** and ****, generating sales of $*** billion by ****. The creation of supermarkets and hypermarkets has driven market growth in recent years.

The trend in frozen food market ...

1.3 The French frozen food market

The frozen food market has been particularly turbulent in recent years following the horsemeat scandal from the Spanghero factory. It turned out that Findus had been selling products labeled "pure beef" when they were made from horsemeat. The ensuing investigation revealed the weaknesses of meat traceability in Europe and eroded consumer ...

1.4 Foreign trade

Given the variety of frozen products on the market, in this category, we focus on foreign trade in frozen beef, one of the most critical segments of the European frozen food market.

Using the UN Comtrade website, it is therefore possible to obtain the graph below corresponding to foreign trade associated ...

1.5 Covid-19 pandemic boosts frozen food market

The Covid-** crisis has positively impacted the frozen food market in France. Indeed, with government-imposed restrictions such as confinement and restaurant closures, the French have been led to spend more time at home, turning to frozen foods to facilitate their daily diet.

More specifically, the sweet frozen food segment saw its ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Fast food, a growth driver for frozen ready meals

The fast food market growth drives demand for frozen products, mainly frozen-ready meals. With increasingly busy lifestyles, consumers are looking for practical solutions for their meals. Frozen ready meals offer a quick and convenient option while allowing consumers to control ingredients and choose healthier options. This trend is contributing to the ...

2.2 Foodservices

Another demand segment, Business to Business this time, is the sale of frozen products to catering establishments. These include :

Educational establishments Retirement homes and social establishments Companies and government bodies Hospitals and health establishments Catering


There will also be a slight increase in the number of public and private secondary ...

2.3 Traditional catering

Restaurants can call on wholesalers for frozen food deliveries as part of their B*B business.

Trends in French household consumption of catering services

The graphs below illustrate several indicators representative of the traditional food service market (***).

Number of businesses registered under NAF code ****A (***) France, ****-****, in number of establishments Source: ...

3 Market structure

3.1 BtoC distribution - Food superstores

The business-to-consumer segment corresponds to the distribution between a company and a consumer.

A survey carried out by YouGov in **** gives an idea of the distribution channels for frozen foods preferred by the French.

Answer to the question "Which retailer do you usually buy your frozen food from?" France, ****, in Source: ...

3.2 B2C distribution - specialized channels

Among the most important are Picard, Thiriet, and Ecomiam. [***]


Picard, with its *,*** stores in France, remains the undisputed leader in the specialist retail channel,by the beginning of ****, Picard will have *,*** stores. The company achieved sales of *.* billion euros in ****, a figure stable compared with previous years. Picard also has ...

3.3 Business to Business distribution

Business-to-business distribution, which involves the delivery of frozen products between two companies, accounted for **% of the frozen food market in **** according to Unigrains data. This type of distribution can occur between a frozen food manufacturer (***).

Gira Foodservice has collected data on this distribution segment. This data dates back to **** but gives ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Frozen products on the market

To build an overview of the frozen food offer, we can analyze the request of Picarda specialized retailer. The company distinguishes between :

fruit and vegetables meat and poultry fish and shellfish

These dishes can be sold in various forms:

aperitifs starters, tarts, and salads ready-made meals breads and pastries pastries ice ...

4.2 Low prices and frozen food prices

Prices for private customers

By analyzing prices of Picard products, we can establish that they are :

between *.** euros and * euros for vegetables ; between *.** euros and * euros for fruit; between * euros and * euros for meat and fish products.

Prices for food professionals

When selling frozen products to food professionals, it is essential ...

4.3 Towards the obsolescence of deep-freezing?

Hydroprocessing protection: a revolution?

Agro Media notes that advances have been made in food preservation recently. For example, the Centre de Développement Bioalimentaire du Québec has developed a new food preservation process: the "hydroprocess de protection," or HPP for short.

HPP involves vacuum-packing pressure-resistant foods and subjecting them to ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Respecting the cold chain

All players in the frozen food market (***) are obliged to respect the cold chain, i.e., to ensure that frozen foods are kept at a negative temperature that complies with regulations. The core temperature must always be below -**°C and the ambient temperature between -**°C and -**°C. This ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

The following segmentation is used:

  • Auchan groupe
  • Picard Surgelés
  • Place du Marche (Toupargel)
  • Thiriet
  • Maximo
  • Pomona Groupe (Passion Froid)
  • Sysco Groupe - Davigel
  • Transgourmet France
  • Martin-Brower France
  • Orly Gel
  • M&M Quality Food
  • Ecomiam
  • Boncolac
  • Bonduelle Groupe
  • Ajinomoto
  • Escal Sea Food
  • Carrefour Groupe
  • E.Leclerc
  • Findus France
  • Fleury Michon
  • Iglo (Nomad foods)
  • McCain Food
  • Sodebo
  • Cargill France
  • Routhiau Groupe

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Trends in frozen food market size
  • Breakdown of frozen food market size by product type
  • Sales (excl. VAT) of frozen food retailers
  • Fast food sales (NAF code 56.10C)
  • Answers to the question "At work, where do you eat most often?"
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Latest news

Fleury Michon, the king of ham, bets on plant-based products with vegetable slices - 28/03/2024
  • - Fleury Michon sales: 795 million euros.
  • - Products offered: three legume-based products (coral lentils, chickpeas, white beans)
  • - Target market: 50% of consumers in France claim to be flexitarians.
  • - Annual decline in the pork ham market: 2% to 3% in volume since 2015
  • - Estimated supermarket delicatessen market for plant-based products: close to 150 million euros, up by around 3% in volume.
  • fleury Michon's "nitrite-free" market share: 62% of sales.
Auchan faces another "difficult" year in 2023 - 22/02/2024
  • -Auchan net loss in 2023: 379 million euros
  • - Previous year's profit: 33 million euros
  • - Auchan's position in the French retail sector: 5th
  • - Revenue in 2023: down 1.7% to 32.9 billion euros
  • - Share of hypermarkets in Auchan's store base: 21%
  • - Acquisition of Casino stores by Auchan and Intermarché: 70 supermarkets, 26 hypermarkets, including five larger than 9,000 m2, and two drives
Auchan: New Beginnings - 06/12/2023
  • Gérard Mulliez founded Auchan in 1961.
  • Auchan hypermarkets account for 80% of the company's sales.
  • Auchan's market share has fallen from over 10% five years ago to 8.4% today.
  • Failed attempt by the Mulliez family to take over Carrefour in October 2021.
  • Auchan and Intermarché are looking to form a product purchasing alliance, which would give them a combined market share of 30%.
  • Auchan and Intermarché have been trying to share nearly 300 hypers and supermarkets that Casino is due to sell.
80 Carrefour hypermarkets operated under franchise or leasing agreements - 14/11/2023
  • On October 20, Carrefour announced its intention to switch 37 stores (comprising 15 hypermarkets and 21 supermarkets) to lease management.
  • Since 2018, 80 hypermarkets have left integrated status, representing around a third of all hypermarkets.
  • Around 75% of supermarkets (784 out of 1038) are currently leased or franchised.
Sodebo explores vending with FreeGo - 24/10/2023
  • Sodebo has been in business for 50 years and has 2,950 employees.
  • Sales total 547 million euros.
  • The FreeGo product range comprises 25 recipes.
  • 65 machines have been deployed, mainly in higher education establishments, student residences and companies in western France.
  • 2.000 people have opened a FreeGo account.
  • Sodebo sandwiches, wraps and salads account for 80% of the products available in connected fridges.
  • The company is currently breaking even with this project.
Cargill invests 50 million euros and sets up R&D center in Loiret - 21/10/2023
  • 50 million euro investment in Saint-Cyr-en-Val plant
  • The plant produces Chicken McNuggets served in over 2,000 restaurants in France and 10 European countries
  • The plant has had a partnership with McDonald's since its creation in 1993
  • The plant employs 250 people
  • It supplies 70% of the breaded chicken fillets sold by McDonald's in France.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Auchan groupe
Picard Surgelés
Place du Marche (Toupargel)
Pomona Groupe (Passion Froid)
Sysco Groupe - Davigel
Transgourmet France
Martin-Brower France
Orly Gel
M&M Quality Food

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the frozen food market | France

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