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The frozen food market in the United States alone is worth over $56 billion, taking a huge chunk of the total global market share. With that said, there should be no surprise that there are a number of excellent food manufacturers that have made a name for themselves pleasing US citizens with their great frozen food offerings.
In case you are curious about which companies in the United States lead the market today, you have come to the right place! Here are the top frozen food companies in the US and their best-selling products.
Top Frozen Food Companies/Brands in the US 2023
To say that the frozen food industry is booming now feels like a major understatement because of how popular they have become over the past few years. As per recent studies, the global frozen food market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% and reach a market capitalization of as high as $377 billion this 2023.
This rapid growth can be attributed to a myriad of reasons, such as the rising income levels in developing countries, the ever-changing demographics, and the increased demand for convenient and healthy foods – driven primarily by the recent pandemic. These are all great signs for frozen food manufacturers and brands, thus, their takeover of the food sector.
Here is a quick rundown of the top frozen food companies in the United States. It shows the kind of frozen foods they specialize and a snippet of their strengths that made them stand out.
|Brand/Company Name||Frozen Foods Specialty||Notes|
|Stouffer’s||Pasta Products||Over a hundred years of producing high-quality food products|
|Tyson Foods||Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Strips, Chicken Patties||Has several successful frozen brands under it; further enhancing its success|
|Amy’s Kitchen||Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan-Friendly||Prioritizes using high-quality ingredients to provide convenient healthy food alternatives|
|Hot Pockets||Hot Pockets||Its original product became a worldwide phenomenon and is now one of the most sought-after frozen product|
|Lean Cuisine||Diet-Friendly Meals||Commonly used on diet plans centered around frozen foods; helps consumers lose weight|
|Marie Callender’s||Desserts||If you love pies; you’d certainly fall for their products|
|Hungry Man||Heavy-loaded Meals||Targets a certain niche and runs away with it; uses the old-school approach in frozen foods|
With that out of the way, let us take a closer look at each of them.
Specialty: Frozen Pasta Products
Annual Revenue: $1.9 billion
Stouffer’s brand already has over a hundred years of experience providing US citizens with high-quality food products, starting the business as far back as 1898 in the humble lands of Ohio. It began as a dairy company that quickly garnered success.
The 1900s was a great time for Stouffer’s. It is when it took its business model in a drastic turn, focusing on restaurants that specialize in homemade dutch apple pies and sandwiches. Stouffer’s would sell prepared meals to these restaurants, which people could take home and remake themselves.
This change in their business approach proved to be an excellent idea for the brand as it quickly expanded outside of Ohio storefronts and started getting involved in the frozen foods industry in 1946. With their top-of-the-line frozen pasta offerings, especially its best-seller, Stouffer’s Classic Lasagna with Meat and Sauce, Stouffer’s cemented itself as one of the most sought-after frozen food companies in the world, let alone the United States.
Specialty: frozen chicken nuggets, strips, and patties
Annual Revenue: $37.3 billion
Tyson Foods is a well-known meat processing brand mostly recognized for its excellent selection of frozen products. Tyson, founded in 1935, came at the opportune time and quickly gained substantial success by providing desperately-needed meat during World War II, where the chicken was excluded.
The brand continued to grow from this point on and became a major contributor to the frozen food industry in the United States and the world. Tyson Foods grew so big that it now has several other successful frozen brands under it. This includes Ballpark, Wright, State Fair, Hillside Farm, and Jimmy Dean.
Tyson’s most well-known products include frozen chicken nuggets, strips, and patties. For example, the highly-acclaimed Tyson Fully Cooked and Breaded Chicken Patties. They are so popular nowadays you’d almost always see them on typical American families’ refrigerators.
It is also worth noting that the majority of the company’s annual revenue comes from non-frozen food. Nevertheless, it still racks up numbers enough to be considered one of the largest frozen dinner brands in the United States.
Specialty: frozen gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan foods
Annual Revenue: $750 million
Amy’s Kitchen separated itself from the pack by doing something that all of its competitors seemingly put aside; it prioritized the use of high-quality ingredients and targeted more health-conscious consumers while still providing convenient and easy-to-prepare frozen foods.
The brand offers more than 250 different foods, including burritos, soup, veggie burgers, and pizzas. Amy’s Kitchen became successful because all of its products continued to adhere to their original standards and cater to particular diets.
Today, it is mostly known for its high-quality gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly frozen foods. One of its best sellers is Amy’s Kitchen Margherita Full Size Pizza. It retains the unique satisfaction of great-tasting pizzas and is filled to the brim with health benefits.
This dedication to ingredient quality and health-beneficial foods secured Amy’s Kitchen a place in the list of top frozen dinner brands in the United States. And with consumers becoming increasingly wary about the quality of the food they intake, you can only expect the brand to grow even more.
Specialty: frozen hot pockets
Annual Revenue: $10 million
Hot Pockets, the hand-held snack, have become a frozen meal staple of many households in the United States and outside of America itself! The brand was devised by brothers David and Paul Merage under Chef America Inc. to mix a sandwich and a calzone that would remain satisfyingly crispy after being cooked for minutes in a standard microwave oven.
When Nestle bought the Hot Pockets brand in 2002, it was predicted to be a $2 billion category of frozen meals. This speaks volumes to the popularity of the simple-looking hot pockets and how they seemingly captured the hearts of Americans without much effort.
From the 2000s to now, Hot Pockets has been in the process of revamping its offerings to include healthier options. It made a point to remove artificial flavors and significantly reduce the amount of sodium it uses in its products. This birthed a new line of hot pockets, such as the Hot Pockets Frozen Sandwiches Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar.
Specialty: diet-friendly frozen meals
Annual Revenue: $4.4 million
Here is another excellent frozen food company under the Nestle brand. Lean Cuisine was introduced in 1981 to serve as a healthy alternative to Stouffer’s (under Nestle as well) meat-heavy frozen goods.
Because of the FDA naming regulations, Lean Cuisine products are required by law to meet the criteria of having less than 10 grams of fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat.
The brand took this regulation to heart and ran away with it, becoming insanely successful by providing consumers with great diet-friendly frozen meals. Such as the Lean Cuisine Favorites Swedish Meatballs, which are now everyone’s favorite IKEA meal!
Lean Cuisine successfully took advantage of the ever-increasing demand for diet-friendly options in the frozen meal industry. While the brand itself was established to just be an attractive alternative to Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine quickly made a name for itself and is now one of the top frozen food brands in the United States alongside Stouffer’s.
Specialty: frozen desserts
Annual Revenue: $3.8 million
Marie Callender’s originated from its founder under the same name, who created a local pie business from her home’s humble kitchen. The business was eventually taken wholesale in 1948 by Callender’s husband and son duo, leading to Marie making over a hundred pies per day at one point.
By the 1960s, Marie Callender’s opened its first restaurant locations and expanded its menu to include attractive dinner items and desserts. Now, Marie Callender’s is a widely-recognized frozen food company specializing in great-tasting frozen desserts, such as Marie Callender’s Frozen Meal, Chicken Pot Pie. Truly, Marie’s pies are timeless. Everyone just loves them.
In 1994, Conagra Foods bought the product licenses of Marie Callender’s for $140 million. Nevertheless, the brand remained one of the world’s largest American frozen meal brands.
Specialty: heavy-loaded frozen meals
Annual Revenue: $3.6 million
If you love frozen meals and have a particularly large appetite for them, you’ve surely come across the appropriately-named frozen food brand, Hungry Man. The Hungry Man brand of frozen dinners supplies large-portioned microwavable delights specifically designed to satiate people who love to eat and have a grand appetite.
Despite the world leaning more towards much healthier food options, the admittedly unhealthy Hungry Man brand that offers products that are indeed one-of-a-kind but have excessively high saturated fat and calories continues to experience steady revenue.
This proves that a large portion of the market still craves old-school frozen products where health benefits are of the least concern. Take, for example, the Hungry Man TV Smokin’ Backyard Barbeque Dinner. Every young man could easily fall for its premise, and we couldn’t blame them for it.
Hungry Man has branded itself as the go-to frozen food company for top-heavy frozen products that could satiate everyone literally and is incredibly delicious. The brand does not go with the flow and definitely goes with the beat of its own drum.
This impressive focus on a narrow target demographic has proved wonders for Hungry Man. Although it clearly defies the current market trend, it still succeeds as one of the most profitable frozen dinner brands in the United States.
If you are in the United States and have a habit of purchasing frozen meals, you’ve surely already come across some of the brands we discussed above. After all, they belong to the elite class of the world’s most profitable frozen food companies, let alone the United States.
Each of them has its own strengths and unique approaches and strategies that they made a success out of. With the demand for frozen foods still trending upwards, expect to see these brands more in the frozen foods section of the stores near you.
Want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of frozen foods? Read our article about that by following the link provided.