The latest Frozen Food Report from the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) shows that the value of frozen food sold into foodservice in the UK is worth £2.4b and predicts a 3-5% continued growth.
However, according to chief executive, Brian Young, the report, written prior to Brexit should now be considered in that context. "I believe we will still see a 3-5% growth for the frozen food sector, but margins will probably remain static in spite of market recovery, driven by emerging fast food concepts, coffee shops and the further proliferation of the street food movement."
Foodservice analysts, Horizons, estimates the current value of the market is £46.6b and forecasts the UK foodservice market will grow by more than £10b in value by the end of 2019, reaching £56.3b. Categories that have seen significant growth are frozen meat, up 5.3% in the 12 months to October 2015, with pizza and sweet bakery both up 14.1% and frozen yoghurt with a massive 58% increase in sales.
Andrew Selley, chief executive of Bidvest Foodservice, commented: "At 34% of our total range, frozen food is an important part of offering our customers the right mix of products."
"I believe that the frozen food market will continue to grow in-line with market growth, demand for specialist products and all-day dining. As part of a full product offer, frozen gives customers an important element of choice and provides a cost-effective solution for meeting their own consumers' varied demands."
Young, who retires from the BFFF on the 22 November and is succeeded by John Hyman, believes that prospects for the frozen food sector are positive in spite of Brexit: "There is no doubt that Brexit will have an impact on inflation, potentially crop prices, and our currency. There will be increased costs for all of hospitality, but the real danger to foodservice in my opinion is the free movement of people.
"European labour is used throughout the supply chain from picking the produce, to the manufacturing process, and into the kitchens, restaurants and in service. Attracting staff to move from other roles into jobs currently performed by European staff may increase minimum rates of pay to secure them."
As well as examining the achievements of the frozen food industry in the last five years the report also highlights the opportunities and challenges it faces in the next five years, by focussing on four broad themes: market growth, changing customer perceptions, food industry drivers and the future of frozen.
"The case for frozen food is no longer in dispute thanks in part to BFFF and our members who have built up a significant bank of evidence to promote the nutritional, cost, quality and sustainability benefits of frozen," added Young.
The report, which is produced by the British Frozen Food Federation, brings together research from leading names including Kantar Worldpanel, BRC-Nielsen, Horizons, CGA Strategy and MCA to give a full picture of the market for frozen food.
For a downloadable version of the report which will be launched at the House of Commons on the 6 September 2016 visit bfff.co.uk/
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