British frozen food market worth a cool £8bn

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

The British frozen food market is value at more than £8bn
The British frozen food market is value at more than £8bn

Related tags Frozen food Food Economics Restaurant

Food manufacturers face an £8bn-plus opportunity to target the frozen food market, according to a new report from the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

Its new report – Frozen Food Report  II – ​estimated the current value of the British frozen food market at £8.13bn. That included retail sales of £3.73bn and foodservice sales of £2.4M.

Retail sales were predicted to grow at between 1% and 2% over the next five years, driven by innovation and demand for convenience.

Foodservice sales of frozen food were predicted to grow at more than 2%, reflecting the nation’s increasingly buoyant eating out sector.

The report highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing the sector over the next five years and reviewed the successes of the past. It focused on four key themes: market growth, changing customer perceptions, food industry drivers and the future of frozen.

BFFF chief executive Brian Young told growth in the frozen food sector offered significant opportunities for food manufacturers.

Opportunities for food manufacturers

Report – at a glance

  • Total market value: £8.13bn
  • Retail: £3.73bn
  • Foodservice: £2.4M
  • Retail growth: 2% over next five years
  • Foodservice growth: more than 2%

“The UK’s frozen food industry is a real success story and I am proud to say that, despite a challenging period for the entire food industry, the sector has demonstrated its resilience and has enjoyed solid growth,” ​he said.

“In the next five years we are set to enjoy further growth as the industry continues to innovate and respond to changing consumer demands.”

Young said the case for frozen food was no longer in dispute, thanks in part to BFFF and its members that have assembled significant evidence to promote the nutritional, cost, quality and sustainability benefits of frozen.

But the sector continued to face a significant challenge from the mainstream media’s focus on fresh food, he warned.

“Looking ahead, frozen will benefit from the growth of online retailing, and as the economy improves and net disposable income grows, foodservice will undoubtedly continue to benefit from more people eating out and eating on the go,” ​said Young.

Kantar Worldpanel

The report was produced by the BFFF, drawing on research from Kantar Worldpanel, BRC-Nielsen, Horizons, CGA Strategy and Management Consultancies Association.

Featured in the report are the opinions and market predictions from industry leaders including, Wayne Hudson,  Birds Eye md, Peter Ward, Young’s Seafood ceo, Ken McMeikan, Brakes Group ceo and Andrew Selley,  Bidvest Foodservice chief executive. See box below.

Frozen Food Report  II ​ will be officially launched at a House of Commons reception early next month.

Meanwhile, watch out for our exclusive video interviews with the BFFF boss next week on the opportunities for growth in the frozen food sector plus advice to his successor.

What they say in Frozen Food Report II

Wayne Hudson​, Birds Eye md, UK and Ireland

“Frozen is ideally placed to ensure that people have the freshest products always in stock at home. Moreover, we are in a post recessionary era where frugality is a badge of honour.”

Andrew Selley​, Bidvest Foodservice chief executive

“I see growth over the next five years being primarily driven by market growth, as customer demand will be balanced between convenience and the cost to store product.”

Peter Ward, ​Young’s Seafood ceo

“Frozen food, as a mature market, is performing very much in line with the total grocery market with long-term growth levels of less than 1%.”

Andy Weston-Webb​, Birds Eye chief commercial officer UK and Ireland

“The freezer plays the role of the reliable back-up when the fridge cannot deliver, offering food that needs to be cooked and, as such, delayed gratification.”

Peter Blackman, ​Horizons md on foodservice innovation

“Over the past few years it has clearly been pubs and quick service restaurants (ie fast food and takeaways) that have grown the fastest. This has been the case since we went through the economic downturn when consumers started reining in their eating out spend and putting more emphasis on value for money.”

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