European consumers will turn more and more to online shopping and discounters to buy frozen food, a new report from Rabobank states.

Its look at the European frozen food sector shows that online shopping will see the most growth when it comes to shopping for frozen food. In what it describes as an ‘ice storm’ for the retail sector, it says that growth in the retail sector is coming to a standstill. “New channels, such as online grocery as well as discount and ‘rediscovered’ convenience stores, are increasingly eating away market share from supermarkets.”

It goes on to say that more and more frozen foods will be purchased online, by as much as 50%.

However, it points out that a number of obstacles also stand in the way of frozen food growth. It says that consumers do not consider frozen food convenient, despite knowing that many frozen food products are fresher than their non-frozen equivalents and keep longer than perishable.

The issue for many shoppers, it says, is convenience and frozen foods can be more difficult to handle and compare. Practically, buying frozen products can mean that the products interfere with other foods and packaging and need to be transported quickly after purchase.

However, the online shop lends itself to buying frozen foods, the report says and as the growth in online food shopping continues, online frozen food sales may see considerable growth.

It says that France and the UK are the two leading countries for online food sales growth, with sales expected to double in both before 2016. However, the report also states that food manufacturers will have to make frozen foods more economical or rewarding for customers.