Catering will offer frozen food producers the best prospects for growth in future, according to Alf Carr, director general of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF). "Caterers can't live without frozen foods; the shelf-life of chilled is just too short," said Carr.
He also predicted a new wave of investment in frozen stores because much of the current capacity is coming to the end of its life.
Speaking at the annual conference of the European division of the International Association of Cold Storage Construction, he said that while retail sales of frozen foods have suffered from a poor image in recent years compared with chilled ready meals, where sales grew rapidly, the figures did not show the complete picture.
"Ten to 15% of all added value recipe dishes in chilled have been frozen," he said.
At the BFFF's recent annual awards, Sliced Goats Cheese from Brakes was named catering product of the year. The judging panel was made up from representatives of the Craft Guild of Chefs.
Retail product of the year, judged by consumer panels across the UK, was Morrison's Classic Walnut Dream Ice Cream, produced by McEvoy Foods International.