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State of play: Frozen meals

Natalie Breymeyer
May 24, 2023
Illustration of a file foldler with a note that says "State of Play" paper clipped to it.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Last updated May 22, 2023

Frozen meals are making a comeback as consumers shift toward cheaper, but still convenient, alternatives to restaurant dining. Last year the frozen meal category grew 8.6% to about $72 billion in sales, according to the American Frozen Food Institute. Well-known brands are spending money to refresh frozen labels and new players are entering the market.

Recent moves include:

  • Amy’s Kitchen, a maker of organic prepared food, will begin selling family-sized offerings of its best-selling entrées.
  • Kraft Heinz introduced Homebake 425°/:30, a new line of frozen meals that will be available at grocery retailers across the U.S. this summer.
  • Nestlé and private equity firm Pai Partners formed a joint venture for Nestlé’s frozen pizza business in Europe.
  • 8 Myles, a frozen comfort food startup, raised $1.05 million in seed funding led by a16z Talent x Opportunity Initiative, Virginia Venture Partners, The Enterprise Center, gener8tor’s Bronze Valley Investment Accelerator and Kompas Ventures.
  • Counter, a frozen food startup, raised $1.2 million in seed funding from consumer products industry executives including Nick Greer, Nate Lord and Tara Housley.
  • Blue Apron and DashMart by DoorDash expanded the availability of Blue Apron’s frozen meals to 11 markets, including New York City.
  • Yelloh, formerly known as Schwan’s Home Delivery, announced a partnership with investment firm 4x4 Capital to modernize the frozen food retailer after 70-plus years in operation. The investment amount was not disclosed and 4x4 Capital’s partner Alex Medicis will become interim CEO.
  • MasPanadas, a Maryland-based frozen empanada brand, received seed funding for an undisclosed amount led by Angeles Investors and Union Kitchen Ventures.
  • Restaurant chain Red Lobster announced in February the launch of a frozen meal line available at Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club locations.
  • Xiao Chi Jie, a Bellevue, Wash.-based frozen dumpling brand, raised $21 million in a fundraising round led by Imaginary Ventures, along with actor Simu Liu, Gold House Ventures and Hyphen Capital.
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