A fight for frozen food spend has broken out in the grocery sector as supermarkets launch a flurry of deals and specialist Iceland gains market share.

Morrisons’ Price Crunch offer

Morrisons this week launched The Great Frozen Price Crunch, offering half-price deals on a wide range of frozen products.

Asda is also competing hard for a slice of frozen spend. It launched a blanket £2 promotion on frozen barbecue food alongside a number of other round-pound offers on frozen this week.

All the big grocers aim to drive sales in the category by investing in frozen food quality and better freezers to display product, as they strive to capitalise on shoppers’ desire to cut waste and save money.

Iceland’s share of the overall grocery market rose from 1.9% to 2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to April 15, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner said there was a rise in round-pound deals in frozen foods, made famous by Iceland. He said: “It has always been a strong tactic, introduced by Iceland, but the larger grocers are stepping up their efforts.”

Iceland owner Malcolm Walker told Retail Week: “We are the innovators and the leaders in frozen food, so naturally everyone else copies us.” Rival frozen specialist Farmfoods is also performing strongly.

The 300-store retailer recorded a 4% increase in sales to £604m and a 44% jump in pre-tax profit to £24.5m in the year to December 31, 2011, according to figures filed at Companies House this week.

Last week 93-store specialist Frozen Value posted a 12% rise in sales to £57m. Operating profit more than doubled to £3.3m in the year to January 31.

Specialists including Frozen Value and Heron Frozen Foods are all increasing store numbers. 

British Frozen Food Federation director Brian Young said: “Frozen food manufacturers have invested in premium new product development and as a result, perceptions of frozen as an inferior choice are beginning to be challenged.”