British Frozen Food Federation reports on positive outlook for sector at annual conference

There is a positive outlook on the horizon with significant opportunities for the frozen food industry in the wake of a recovering economy according to speakers at British Frozen Food Federation’s annual business conference last week (3 March).

In light of the improving economy and the start of a gradual return of consumer confidence, this year’s conference looked atThe Changing Face of Retail and Foodservice. Speakers from across the industry debated the opportunities and threats that changing consumer habits are posing to the frozen food industry.

Speakers, including Kantar Worldpanel’s Ed Garner, economist Roger Martin-Fagg and IGD’s chief economist James Walton, pointed to the growing market share of the discounters and premium retailers at the expense of the big four. For frozen manufacturers and retailers this points to the opportunity for manufacturers to tap into the demand for premium products that offer values and good quality discounted products that offer value.

Brian Young, BFFF chief executive, said: “The changing way consumers shop for food is having a significant impact on our retailers and this has the potential to pose a major opportunity for the frozen industry. The onus is now on manufacturers and suppliers to make changes and take advantage of this.”

Leading names from the foodservice industry also pointed to the changing nature of eating out in the UK making dining occasions more fragmented than ever. Speakers such as Ken McMeikan at Brakes Group, Tom Lynch of research agency CGA Strategy and James Armitage at Enterprise Inns, suggested that the eating out industry is showing growth with UK consumers eating out of home more than the rest of Europe.

Young continued: “For foodservice suppliers and manufacturers, the outlook is extremely positive with the eating out market growing healthily. However, suppliers and manufacturers must help outlets to meet the demands posed by the changing ways and times we eat out in order to make the most of this growth.”

Other speakers included Andrew Kenney, senior director of frozen foods at Asda, Andy Weston-Webb, Birds Eye managing director UK and Ireland and Dr Morgaine Gaye, leading food futurologist.

The conference and exhibition, which is in its fifth year, was attended by over 200 industry influencers looking to debate the latest issues in frozen food.