The chief executive of the country’s leading organisation on frozen food products hopes a new report will spur consumers and retailers alike to strongly consider investing in frozen food to in order to reduce waste.
Speaking to the Retail Gazette at the recent launch of the Frozen Food Report II, the first such report in six years, British Frozen Food Federation boss Brian Young said more consumers were already concerned about how to save food from waste.
“Frozen food can offer that,” he said.
“One of the issues retailers face is the amount of waste that’s not sold. Clearly, the more that we become aware of this… people begin to understand how criminal it is when you’ve got one million people each night going to bed hungry, when supermarkets and retailers still have that high level of waste.”
Young said about one third of food products are wasted in supermarket retailers, and said the latest report highlighted the nutritional, cost, quality and sustainability benefits of frozen food.
The report also highlights the growth of the industry in recent years and the potential for frozen food in the face of changing shopping consumption habits and retail demands.
Specifically, it says that the last five years for the frozen food sector was “exceptionally well”, due to the changing shopping habits of consumers as they sought to save money or reduce their shopping budgets during the recession.
For that reason, the value of the UK retail frozen food market grew by 12.8 per cent in the last five years, with a net worth of £5.73 billion.
Young said this proved that consumers are increasingly understanding the benefits of frozen food, he debunked the myth that fresh food was better.
“Most fresh food has been frozen before being sold again,” he told the Retail Gazette.
“For example, you can’t get food from Sri Lanka, from NZ, from Hawaii or the Caribbean into this country without chilled or frozen en route before being defrosted and put on the shelves.”
The Frozen Food Report II was officially launched earlier this month at an event in Houses of Parliament, with food minister George Eustice MP throwing his support behind it.
He praised the industry’s innovation in areas such as technology and labelling and highlighted the role frozen food plays in resolving issues such as reducing waste.
Eustice added that the negotiations around Brexit offered a “wealth of opportunity” for frozen food in terms of reviewing farming and production policies as well as potentially accessing wider export markets and trade agreements further afield – ideal for frozen food where given the correct storage, perishability is not an issue.