Currently worth £8.3bn, increasing volume and value sales meant it was “only a matter of time” before the £10bn target was achieved, BFFF chief executive John Hyman claimed.
“In the past 12 months, the industry has achieved a significant milestone," Hyman told delegates at the BFFF Annual Business Conference, held in Birmingham last Thursday (22 February). “Retail sales are now worth more than £6bn, and currently growing at about 6% – when a year ago it was flat.”
Foodservice, which made up the remaining £2.3bn, had been “a very dynamic and growing market over the past 10 years”, Hyman said.
Still a long way behind
Despite that growth, the UK was still a long way behind the US in terms of share of the foodservice market, he added.
“But the good news for the UK is that it’s got a great consumer demographic, and some of the younger consumers are spending a lot more than average, and eating out a lot more.”
Hyman reminded delegates that the £10bn figure excluded exports. “We know from our Brexit survey that roughly half of our members export and, of those, 90% expect to be exporting a lot more post-Brexit than they currently are,” he explained.
“Overall, I think retailers are generally putting more focus on the frozen food market. And over the next few years we expect to see a lot more innovation – particularly in premium and health.”
BFFF People Awards
The conference, at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel, was followed by the inaugural BFFF People Awards.
Celebrating the unsung heroes of the frozen food industry, the awards featured nine categories including Commercial Champion, Purchaser/Buyer of the Year and Factory Manager of the Year.
In addition, a Rising Star award was won by Chris Healey, site manager at XPO Supply Chain UK.
Meanwhile, the Lifetime Achievement award went to Andy Breffit, commercial director of Hopwells, one of the UK’s largest independent frozen food distributors.
“These awards are a real triumph for all the winners and their companies, and teams should be incredibly proud of their achievements,” said Hyman.
“The standard of entries we received was exceptional and it was really encouraging to see how many industry leaders put forward members of their teams they believed were deserving of recognition.”
BFFF People Awards – winners
- Commercial Champion of the Year – Jane Marren, Company Shop
- Technical Champion of the Year – Sharni Rigby, The Authentic Food Company
- Health and Safety Champion of the Year – Todd Hallam, Chalcroft Construction
- Sustainability Leader of the Year – Brennan Green, Paramount 21
- Product Developer of the Year – Rachel Cook, Bidfood
- Factory Manager of the Year – Jason Ash, Greenyard Frozen UK
- Supply Chain/Logistics Champion of the Year – Michael Round, Rick Bestwick
- Marketer of the Year – Ginny Durdy, The Ice Co
- Buyer of the Year – Michelle Clever, The Authentic Food Company
- Lifetime Achievement – Andy Breffit, Hopwells
- Rising Star – Chris Healey, XPO Supply Chain UK