26 November 2021
Addressing 700 business leaders at the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) annual lunch, Ian Stone, president and chair, warned that the frozen food industry has a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow sales and help cut carbon emissions.
At the first live luncheon since 2019, at London’s Hilton Park Lane, Stone said British consumers had ‘fallen in love with frozen food’ during the pandemic and that this, combined with heightened interest in environmental issues, has created the perfect platform from which frozen can continue to grow, urging members to seize the opportunity.
“Consumers have discovered what we have always known; frozen foods are easy to store and cook, with little wastage. Quality and taste are fantastic, and there is a wide range of menu choices. It means we have seen nearly £1bn added to the value of retail sales above that of 2019.
“We need to seize this pivotal moment. In retail, we must continue to innovate with products, deliver healthier options, embrace meat-free, plant-based alternatives, continue to deliver brilliant value for money. In foodservice, we need to garner the new enthusiasm for frozen food and celebrate its benefits, particularly quality and value for money.”
Stone, chief commercial officer and managing director of Wiltshire Farm Foods, part of the apetito group, also said more needs to be done to highlight the sustainability benefits of frozen food. To reinforce this, the Federation is planning to run a Frozen Food Week in September next year, dedicated to the role frozen can play in reducing food waste.
“As a nation, we waste 9.5m tonnes of food per year. Of that, nearly 7m tonnes is simply thrown away. By encouraging consumers to buy more frozen food, we could dramatically impact this figure. Fresh vegetables and salads are the largest single area of food waste, with 3m carrots and 1m onions alone being thrown away every day. Manufacturing a frozen product is often undertaken with longer production runs, resulting in fewer changeovers and minimising lost raw materials. It is a more efficient process from start to finish.
“We are in a unique position because frozen food is surely the most sustainable food option of all. So to consumers and caterers who ask how they can be more sustainable, the answer is very simple: buy more frozen.”
BFFF is the leading Trade Association for the frozen food sector. Its mission is to promote and protect the interests of the frozen food industry. Members cover the whole of the entire cold chain, including large companies to SMEs.