The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has set up a “dating” service to match food manufacturers that specialize in supplying the hospitality sector with grocery retailers who are experiencing a huge surge in demand by shoppers who are stocking their pantries with extra foodstuffs. This buying behavior is due to anxiety about the novel coronavirus pandemic that broke out in the China’s Hubei Province late last year and has since spread around most of the world.
The Frozen Food Platform is a response to the crisis in the Out of Home market, which has seen trade collapse as the Covid-19 death toll rises in the United Kingdom. On March 16 Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised Britons to avoid restaurants, pubs and other foodservice outlets, as well as non-essential contact generally, as the nation mobilizes to contain the spread of the deadly bug.
Richard Harrow, chief executive of the BFFF stated: “As the Government’s advice to avoid pubs and restaurants starts to take effect, it’s clear that consumers’ habits are changing at a rapid pace.”
The latest CGA’s One Pulse consumer survey carried out on March 17 found that 58% of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 say they will stop visiting public eating places and watering holes, in line with Government advice, with a further 28% suggesting that they will visit less frequently. However, 14% said they aim to patronize food and drink establishments at least as often, to show support to the sector.
Harrow commented: “In Out of Home consumers look like they will just disappear, leaving many small operators in dire straits. In turn suppliers into this market face a massive downturn in trade just before the busy Mother’s Day weekend.
“So, we are trying to match these manufacturing members with grocery retailers who are experiencing a surge in demand that’s reached levels normally only seen during the peak Christmas trading period. Whilst it may drop back it is clear that food normally consumed Out of Home will switch to increased home consumption.”
The initiative, which is supported by the Federation’s retail members, is open to all food companies supplying foodservice and Out of Home sectors even if they are not BFFF members. Any company wanting to take part can register their details on a dedicated page on the BFFF website.
About the Federation
The British Frozen Food Federation is the United Kingdom’s 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 entire cold chain of supply. The Federation campaigns with its members to educate, promote and inform consumers, retailers and the foodservice operators about the value of frozen food.