Nigel Broadhurst, the firm’s buying director, said now was the time to take action and plough cash into the British Frozen Food Federation’s (BFFF’s) publicity drives.
Broadhurst was speaking at the BFFF’s annual conference in Warwickshire in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
“Are you prepared to let the press slag off our industry, denigrate our products and ultimately send our market into decline or are you prepared to take some action and take it now?” he asked delegates.
“If ever there was a time we should be spending money to show consumers the benefits of frozen, it is now,” he said.
“Most manufacturers and retailers in this room don’t need to back an individual campaign to improve the standing of frozen food in the eye of the consumer and to drive understanding of what frozen food is really all about.
“If we treat it properly and finance it correctly, the BFFF can and will become a substantial voice in the industry. There’s never been a time when that voice was needed more than now.”
Broadhurst urged manufacturers and retailers present to offer senior executive support and funding.
He also branded rogue suppliers responsible for the horsemeat crisis as “lying, cheating, robbing, b*****ds”.
Earlier at the conference, BFFF director general Brian Young outlined the BFFF’s promotional plans for the coming year.
£600,000 PR campaign
He said this was the fifth year of a £600,000 member-funded PR campaign that had seen collaboration with universities and colleges to show the environmental and taste qualities frozen can offer.
“This year we will be working with Chester University to take chilled, frozen and tinned products and see how many antioxidants are left in the products. We will have the full results in May and this will be important as we continue to stress the nutritional benefits frozen offers.”
Young added that the BFFF was launching a new consumer website Cool Cookery which would focus on recipes and meal solutions using frozen products.
He is also hoping to work with students to “create an exceptional Christmas 2013 product” to show how the frozen sector can have success in premium markets.