Buying in frozen products is more cost effective than making dishes from scratch according to research commissioned by the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) as part of its ‘Profiting from Frozen Food' campaign.
A study conducted by the Manchester Food Research Centre (MFRC) comparing the overall cost of frozen versus freshly made dishes commonly served in pubs, restaurants and hotels found that in nearly all cases, the dishes made to a duplicate recipe from scratch cost more than 24% more than their frozen counterparts.
It compared six dishes: two starters - canapés and breaded camembert, two main courses - lamb shank and salmon en croute, and two desserts - strawberry cheesecake and profiteroles.
The results indicated that:
Mixed canapés cost 66% more to make from scratch than their frozen counterparts
Profiteroles cost 65% more to make from scratch than frozen
Lamb shank cost 27% more to make from scratch than frozen
Strawberry cheesecake cost 24% more to make from scratch than frozen
Salmon en croute and breaded camembert frozen versus ‘fresh' dish costs were negligible
Each frozen and fresh dish was made to exactly the same recipe and specification with cost implications calculated taking into consideration the cost of raw materials, energy used, wastage, cleaning and manpower.
Colin Rodgers, technical project manager at the MFRU said: "On the whole the study considered it was more cost effective to buy readymade frozen alternatives than manufacturing the food fresh from scratch, particularly the more labour intensive dishes which involve a high skill level at a considerable cost."
Brian Young, director general of the BFFF added: "In this tough economic climate there is a compelling business case for using frozen food. Buying frozen will save money because of competitive and stable food prices, the ability to control portion sizes and wastage, plus the opportunity to cut kitchen labour costs. This will help businesses reduce their overheads, produce more accurate pricing models and protect their profits."