Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Frozen Food Market In Brazil

Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


As more families in Brazil are entering the middle class and as time becomes more scarce than ever due to work, frozen food products are becoming increasingly common in the Brazilian diet. In this article, we will take a look at the frozen food market in Brazil.

Overview of the frozen food market in Brazil

The frozen food market is prospering in Brazil: from 2008 to 2013, this sector’s revenue grew 120%, according to ABIA, the Brazilian Association of Food Companies, attaining around BRL 11,3 billion in 2013. There are over 700 frozen food industries in Brazil, with more than 90% of them being small businesses.

The main reasons for the growth seen in this sector are the:

  • Expansion of the Brazilian middle class
  • Increase in the population's purchasing power
  • Increase in the number of people working full time. This leaves less time to take care of the house, including preparing meals

Other factors have a significant part in the growth of the frozen food market in Brazil such as smaller families and the increase in the number of people living alone. A survey conducted in 2011 by FIESP, the Federation of Industries of the state of São Paulo, and IBOPE, a large statistics company, showcased the main Brazilian food trends. In it, convenience was noted as the most important aspect taken into consideration when buying food, 34%, ahead of quality of food, 23%.

This growth can also be seen when analyzing the space allocated for frozen food in Brazilian supermarkets: since the start of 2000 to the beginning of 2010, the space allocation for these products grew from 5% to 30% of the supermarkets.

Production of frozen food

Imports of frozen meals are mostly not relevant, since all players are located in Brazil due to its high availability of raw materials. These players produce frozen food for the domestic market, as well as frozen food for exports.

One of the main exceptions to this is the import of frozen fish fillets, which come in abundance from Vietnam, China and Alaska. These found their way into the Brazilian market due to their low prices, comparable or even cheaper than Brazilian fish fillets. From 2008 to 2013, imports of frozen fish fillets from Vietnam grew around 1.500%, totaling 54.000 tons, whilst Chinese imports grew almost 1.100%, totaling 92.000 tons.

Brazil’s main exported frozen product is meat, with the state of Paraná being the main exporter of this product. Brazil exports over 2 million tons of frozen meat, with 37% of this passing through the port of Paranaguá, in the state of Paraná.

The vegetarian food market is also rising in Brazil, as is demand for vegetarian frozen products. Mr. Veggy is the main player in this niche in Brazil, producing over six tons of frozen vegetarian meals every month. Located in the state of São Paulo, Mr. Veggy has had an annual growth of 40% per year between 2004 to 2013.

Consumer profile

In a survey that showcased Brazilian food trends, the profile of frozen food consumers from upper and middle class incomes - classes A, B and C - in Brazil showed that:

  • 25% of consumers bought frozen food four to five times per month
  • 30% of consumers bought frozen food at least twice per month
  • 40% of consumers bought frozen food at least once per month
  • 73% of all frozen food products are bought by women
  • Frozen food is consumed mainly by the high middle class (otherwise known as class B), 42%, and by the low middle class (otherwise known as class C), 29%

The three most popular frozen food products being consumed in Brazil are currently meat, pizzas and lasagnas. They are consumed by 39%, 33%, and 10%, respectively, of all people who purchase frozen food.

Market trends for frozen food

An interesting trend in the Brazilian frozen food market is the rise of healthier products. For 21% of all consumers of food products, health and well-being are the most important reasons for deciding which products they will buy. As frozen food is normally seen as unhealthy due to exceedingly high amounts of sodium and fats, a new market for healthy frozen food products is growing.

The search for frozen functional food, which is food with an added function, normally relating to health-promotion or disease prevention, is growing thanks to this market trend. This trend has also produced several niches, such as products beneficial to physical and mental performance, items for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, and other similar products. The demand for products with cosmetic properties is also rising.