New Survey Reveals Canadians Love Frozen Veggies

Feb 16, 2024 Press release
Nearly half purchased frozen vegetables last month, while 85% have purchased them in the past year
Visual: Estelle Lévêque

BROSSARD, QC, February 19, 2024 – To kick off the first-ever National Frozen Veggie Week (February 19-23), Nortera, a North American leader in vegetable processing,  released today the results of a survey on Canadians' relationship with frozen vegetables. The survey revealed that 85% of Canadians enjoyed these convenient, nutritious options over the past year, and nearly half (48%) say they purchase them at least once a month.

“As we celebrate Frozen Veggie Week, we're thrilled to see Canadians embrace the versatility and benefits of frozen vegetables,” says Christian Malenfant, Vice President Strategic Initiatives, Corporate Communications & ESG at Nortera. “When you purchase frozen vegetables, you’re getting locally grown produce that’s harvested at its peak freshness and flash-frozen to preserve their essential nutrients.”

Main factors motivating the purchase of frozen vegetables
The Omnibus survey conducted by Léger* also explored the main reasons why Canadians, who have purchased frozen vegetables in the past, are purchasing them.

  • Long Shelf Life: 51% of respondents appreciate the fact that frozen vegetables last for several months in the freezer. The percentage of those who chose this factor as their main reason, by province: Manitoba/Saskatchewan (33%); British Columbia (27%); Ontario (26%); Alberta (22%); Quebec (18%) and Atlantic Canada (16%).
  • Convenience: 37% of respondents purchase frozen veggies for their practicality, helping to save time in the kitchen. 26% of Quebecers; 24% of Ontarians; 13% of Albertans; and 11% of Canadians in the Atlantic provinces chose this factor as the main reason.
  • Year-Round Availability: 34% of respondents primarily buy frozen veggies as they are available even out of season. 22% of respondents aged 55+ indicated this as their primary reason (significantly higher than other age groups); 18% of Quebec respondents, 16% of Ontario respondents and 16% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan respondents chose this factor as the main reason.
  • Saves Money: 27% of respondents say they buy them primarily to save money, as the price of frozen veggies remains stable throughout the year. 20% of respondents aged 18 to 34 and 20% of those aged 35 to 54 chose this factor as their main reason. Only 9% of older Canadians aged 55+ (a significantly lower percentage than other age groups) chose this factor as their primary reason for buying frozen vegetables.
  • Reduces Food Waste: 23% of respondents say they primarily purchase frozen veggies because they help reduce food waste. 33% of respondents from Atlantic Canada chose this factor as the main reason.
  • They are just as nutritious as fresh (17%) and tasty (5%). 

Changing Trends
Faced with soaring food prices, a third of Canadians (33%) who have previously purchased frozen vegetables say they are now buying them more frequently because of the increase in grocery costs. This trend is statistically more marked among 18-34 year olds (42%), respondents who have children at home (42%) and 35-54 year olds (38%).

"The results from the survey affirm the essential role frozen vegetables play in Canadian kitchens, providing a nutritious and convenient solution for households across the country,” says Mario Lalancette, Executive Director of Quebec Produce Marketing Association. “Frozen Veggie Week is a fantastic initiative that brings attention to the frozen vegetable aisle and all the culinary possibilities it contains.”

Which vegetable iced out the competition? 
Green peas are the most commonly purchased frozen vegetable in Canada, accounting for 14.2%** of all frozen veggies purchased. These versatile green veggies not only top the charts but are a culinary canvas for a variety of easy, delicious recipes from soups to pasta dishes. The next most popular choices are corn, mixed veggies and broccoli.
To celebrate Frozen Veggie Week, Nortera is launching, a hub for nutritious and delicious recipes, simple tips for incorporating more vegetables into your diet, and information about the benefits of choosing frozen. 

Benefits of choosing frozen vegetables:

  • Convenient and Nutritious: Frozen vegetables offer a convenient, nutritious solution to elevate your daily meals.
  • Peak Freshness: Harvested at their peak, green peas are flash-frozen within 2 hours to preserve essential nutrients.
  • Local Support: Choosing frozen veggies supports local farmers, with the majority grown right here in Canada, notably in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
  • Economical Choice: Buying frozen veggies is an economical choice, offering great value and reducing food waste.
  • Year-Round Access: Enjoy your favourite vegetables year-round, supporting local farmers even when fresh produce is out of season.

"The enthusiasm of consumers for frozen vegetables is a source of pride for producers who are working on the development and marketing of vegetables destined for processing. This initiative helps to highlight the benefits of consuming frozen vegetables, which are high-quality products that not only represent a convenient and healthy option but also have a positive impact on the local economy. We support this promising trend for the food industry and the work of local agricultural producers," says Pascal Forest, President of the Quebec Vegetable Processing Producers.

Frozen Veggie Week is an initiative by Nortera, in collaboration with the Quebec Vegetable Processing Producers and the I Love Fruits and Veggies Movement.

*Source: An Omnibus web survey by Léger of 1,536 Canadians aged 18+ was completed January 19 to 21, 2024. 

**Source: Nielsen data, 2023