Frozen Food Industry in UK Sets Sights on Higher Sales

The vision of creating frozen food sales worth £10 billion per annum was outlined at the British Frozen Food Federation’s (BFFF) conference in Birmingham on February 22. Addressing the trade association’s yearly gathering, Chief Executive John Hyman said:

“In the 12 months since we last met the industry has achieved a significant milestone: retail sales worth over £6 billion. When combined with £2.3 billion worth of sales in foodservice, we have a UK frozen food market worth £8.3 billion, and it’s growing in volume as well as value.

“We are getting closer to reaching the £10 billion target and I expect great things from frozen as many of the factors driving retail and foodservice markets are favorable to frozen food.”

The conference, held at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel, was attended by over 300 delegates and ran alongside the BFFF’s annual Health & Safety Seminar and a newly launched Technical Seminar.

Conference delegates heard from a range of leading industry speakers including Kate Forbes, head of category development at Birds Eye who outlined opportunities for category growth and collaboration with consumers. Andrew Roberts, commercial director of Bidfood, encouraged frozen food producers to innovate to generate more sales in foodservice. Iceland’s trading director, Bev Mitchell, covered the success of the “Power of Frozen” marketing campaign.

BFFF Chief Exec addressing the BFFF conferenceBritish Frozen Food Federation Chef Executive John Hyman is confident that the UK market will continue growing in both volume and value, with sales posed to hit the £10 billion mark in the not too distant future.The opportunities for exporting more frozen food, as well as retail and foodservice trends both in the UK and globally were discussed by speakers included Nick Downing of the IGD, Graeme Littlejohn from the Scotch Whisky Association, Chris Hayward of Kantar Worldpanel and Simon Stenning of MCA.

“Sales of frozen in retail are buoyant,” said Hyman. “I expect to see further growth as our members continue to innovate and develop premium products and more choice across every category, enabling more consumers to trade up to frozen.”

The BFFF chief executive continued: “Frozen scores highly when it comes to current consumer trends such as health, convenience and food waste. Freezing is a natural process that captures nutrients and vitamins and when you combine this with the ability of most foods to be cooked from frozen, in just the right portion size, it’s a win-win for consumers.

Hyman pointed out that the rise in online shopping is also a factor. Indeed, frozen products over-trade online as consumers appreciate the added benefit of temperature-controlled delivery.

“The buoyant foodservice market is also playing in favor of frozen. Great taste, ease of preparation, portion control and reduced food waste all have a key role in helping busy kitchens make money, facts that are now widely recognized by chefs,” remarked Hyman.

He concluded: “As an industry, our supply chain is more efficient and controlled than ever before, with investment only growing. The frozen food industry is united in its commitment to innovation, investment and insight and will continue to drive forward in 2018 and beyond.

The event was closed with an inspirational keynote address from Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes.