Single-serving packages heat up the freezer aisle.

by: Elisabeth Cuneo, Associate Editor

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Packaging for one is sprouting up all over grocery stores, flowering the freezer aisle with single-serving frozen foods and beverages. Demand for all frozen foods is on the climb as consumers place more value on convenience.

Growing demand for convenience food and technical advances in packaging are two of the main drivers behind U.S. demand for frozen food packaging reaching almost $7 billion in 2013, according to a report from Freedonia Group. Frozen Food Packaging forecasts 3.7% year-on-year growth over the next four years to $6.8 billion. One trend lifting frozen food demand is single-portion packaging due to demographic trends such as an increase in smaller households and busier consumer lifestyles.

Walk down the freezer aisle and you are bombarded with all types of frozen items from meals, desserts, appetizers, sides and vegetables. A common thread among frozen food and drinks is packaging designed for one. Frozen entrees come to mind first as single serving food, but other foods are taking this singular approach, including packaged appetizers, alcoholic drinks and desserts. While Americans are known for bigger or super size portions, packaging in the freezer aisle seems to be shrinking.

We’ve all seen frozen pizzas and even individual pizzas in the freezer aisle, but Red Baron has taken a new approach to the single-serve pizza lovers with its Pizza by the Slice line that provides a package with two individually wrapped slices of pizza each contained within an innovative crisping tray. Available in 4 varieties, the microwavable tray aids in delivering a crispy crust. Frozen foods brand Freschetta also launched a sliced pizza line called By the Slice. Available in four varieties, the slice creates an individual pizza eating experience unlike that of eating an individually sized pizza.

Alcoholic beverages are going “single,” too, in one-drink servings. Daily’s Frozen Pouches, from American Beverage Corp., offer seven varieties of frozen alcoholic beverage designed for one. The 10-ounce foil laminate pouches go right from the freezer to cocktail glasses and offer the taste, consistency, and refreshment of a frozen blender drink, without the blender and the clean-up.

Even vegetables are on-board with products like Green Giant’s Just for One line. The line features individually packaged servings of vegetables ideal for microwave convenience. The line offers various combinations of veggies, sauce and spices for a complete side dish or snack for one person in approximate 4-ounce microwaveable disposable steam tray.

Long-standing frozen-foods maker Lean Cuisine has recently added snacks, including dips, to its product line-up. Known for its line of frozen entrees, Lean Cuisine’s snacks are an interesting solution for consumers’ craving for convenience. The new low-calorie dips are portioned for one and contain a microwaveable bowl of dip and pita bread packaged in plastic wrap for separate heating. The convenience of the snacks is easy to recognize with the ease of having just one serving and purchasing just one item; as opposed to purchasing one loaf of bread and a container of dip. While the value could easily be seen in buying more (savings per serving), consumers are now proving that less really is more.

Dessert companies have had success selling the convenience of portion-packed servings for years. Edward’s Desserts Singles offer 10 varieties of single pie slices, six desserts a la mode and three varieties of mini pies, all served in the recognizable yellow box. Smart Ones offers 11 choices of either a slice of pie, cake or a sundae packaged for one serving. The dessert is packaged as one piece, no mess, no fuss, no leftovers.

Ice cream cartons are shrinking, too, as consumers value the convenience of one serving. Häagen-Dazs has launched single-serve ice creams and sorbets in 3.6-ounce containers. In almost a dozen flavors it’s a hit among shoppers who see the value in smaller sizes. Skinny Cow, from Nestlé, also sells petite containers of ice cream for easy portion control. I speak from experience when I write that mini ice cream containers are an easy way to get an ice cream craving satisfied without lingering leftovers calling to you from the freezer!

While bigger sizes can be better value per serving portion, shoppers today aren’t always looking for the best value, but instead looking for the convenience of a single-serving portion. With the rise of smaller households and busier lifestyles, packaging for one is a blooming market trend. Scour the freezer aisle for options for one for easy cooking, consuming and clean up.

For More Information

Freedonia Group


Pizza combinations serve a slice of convenience

What’s better than a frozen pizza? It’s an easy way to enjoy a favorite meal with the ease of just throwing it in the oven (or microwave). And now in addition to pizza, DiGiorno is offering frozen pizzas packaged with an extra edible side. New Pizza & Wyngz, Pizza & Breadsticks, and Pizza & Cookies include a pizza and side, all in one package.

Available nationally in grocers’ freezers, DiGiorno pizza combinations feature a full-size, hand-tossed-style pizza paired with either a full order of eight breadsticks and marinara dipping sauce, 12 Nestle Toll House cookies (cookie dough pieces) or 7-8 boneless chicken wings with sauce. The pizza and sides are packaged in separate pouches, all in one box. Combined packaging for easy meal time shows the rising demand for convenience.