Speaking at the BFFF’s annual Luncheon this week Stone said British consumers had ‘fallen in love with frozen food’ during the pandemic and that this, combined with heightened interest in environmental issues, has created the perfect platform from which frozen can continue to grow.
“Consumers have discovered what we have always known; frozen foods are easy to store and cook, with little wastage. Quality and taste are fantastic and there is a wide range of menu choices. It means we have seen nearly £1bn added to the value of retail sales above that of 2019,” Stone said.
“We need to seize this pivotal moment.”
Early in the pandemic in 2020 it was revealed that sales of fish fingers and frozen peas skyrocketed while Frozen food sales boomed by £285m in the 12 months to 22 March 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stone, who is also chief commercial officer and managing director of Wiltshire Farm Foods, part of the apetito group, said more needs to be done to highlight the sustainability benefits of frozen food.
In response the Federation is planning to run a Frozen Food Week in September 2022 to highlight the role frozen can play in reducing food waste.
“As a nation we waste 9.5m tonnes of food per year. Of that, nearly 7m tonnes is simply thrown away. By encouraging consumers to buy more frozen food we could dramatically impact this figure,” Stone said.
“Fresh vegetables and salads are the largest single area of food waste, with 3m carrots and 1m onions alone being thrown away every single day. Manufacturing a frozen product is often undertaken with longer production runs, resulting in less change overs and minimising lost raw materials. It is a more efficient process from start to finish.”