As the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) approaches its 75th anniversary its president and chair, Ian Stone says the industry is perfectly placed to help consumers off-set some of the effects of the cost of living crisis.
In an address to 750 business leaders at the Federation’s Annual Luncheon at London’s Hilton Park Lane today (22 November), Mr Stone said prolonged shelf-life, reduced wastage and competitive pricing mean frozen food can help consumers and foodservice operators cope with pressures of double-digit food inflation.
“I believe that we, the frozen food industry, are perfectly placed to be part of the solution, not the problem. But only if we act as one and be stronger together,” said Mr Stone. “Surely, we can garner the newfound enthusiasm for frozen food gained during the pandemic. An enthusiasm that saw retail sales increasing by £1bn and sales of freezers rise by nearly 50%.
He added: “For the consumer we must constantly strive to offer the highest quality, best value nutritional food that provides the longest shelf life, reduces waste, and allows consumers to only cook what they want, when then want it.
“For the foodservice operator, we must provide the finest quality, nutritious ingredients that minimise waste, increase yields and provide utmost flexibility for the caterer. And we need to ensure that all caterers – whichever sector – see frozen food as an aspirational option, not just the option of last resort.”
He also highlighted the challenges BFFF members have faced saying: “We may have put the pandemic behind us, but we have faced other ‘once in a generation challenges’ with inflation and the energy being the main headlines of late. However, we have additionally had to face labour shortages and supply chain issues, resulting in huge and constant pressures on input costs and ingredients for all of us.”
Mr Stone, who is chief commercial officer of apetito, went on to praise the efforts of the BFFF in running the industry’s first Frozen Food Week in September to promote the benefits of frozen food as well as expanding its range of member services and strengthening the industry’s representation to government.
“It is my privilege to thank all the team at the BFFF. Without your hard work and commitment our industry and our Federation would be a different darker place, of that I am certain. You have endured many challenges in recent years but have come through smiling with a Federation fit to tackle the future, whatever it throws at us.
Mr Stone concluded by informing members and their guests that 2023 will be the 75th anniversary of the BFFF, saying: “What an achievement for this great organisation. To have been in existence for 75 years, championing and promoting an industry is exceptional, something to be proud of. We will be celebrating this unique milestone next year. And in our 75th year we will grasp every opportunity to be part of a solution to any problems”