Trade Associations, Shows & Conferences

‘Once in Lifetime’ Opportunity for Frozen Food, Says BFFF President

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The frozen food industry in the United Kingdom has a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to grow sales and help cut carbon emissions, according to Ian Stone, president of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

In an up-beat address to 700 business leaders at the Federation’s Annual Luncheon at London’s Hilton Park Lane on November 25, Stone said British consumers have “fallen in love with frozen food” during the coronavirus pandemic period and that this, combined with heightened interest in environmental issues, has created the perfect platform from which the frozen sector can continue to grow.

At the first face-to-face luncheon since 2019, the BFFF president urged his peers to seize the opportunity, stating: “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 £1 billion added to the value of retail sales above that of 2019.

BFFF President Ian Stone

“We need to seize this pivotal moment. In retail, we must continue to innovate with product; deliver healthier options, further 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, who is 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 BFFF is planning to run a Frozen Food Week in September next year, dedicated to the role frozen can play in reducing food waste.

He commented: “As a nation we waste 9.5 million tons of food per year. Of that, nearly 7 million tons 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 3 million carrots and 1 million onions being thrown away every single day. Manufacturing a frozen product is often undertaken with longer production runs, resulting in less changeovers and minimizing lost raw materials. It is a more efficient process from start to finish.”

Stone concluded: “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.”