The future is frozen, says new report
According to the authors of the world’s first frozen food report, such food can ‘strongly contribute towards Defra’s vision of a sustainable, secure and healthy food supply in the UK’.
Compiled by researchers at the Centre for Food Innovation (Sheffield Hallam University) and Refrigeration Developments & Testing (Bristol) the British Frozen Food Industry – a Food Vision report concludes that frozen food offers high quality, good value, safe foods with an extended storage life; a nutritional profile comparable to fresh foods in a format that will help to provide dietary portion control; and emerging environmental benefits – including a contribution to reducing food waste and the ability to preserve and use seasonal foods all year round.
“It is widely recognised that our country needs to work towards a sustainable, secure and healthy food supply,” says MP Austin Mitchell, who hosted a reception for the launch of the report. “To achieve this we need to ensure fair prices, choice and access to food, along with a continuous improvement in food safety, changes to deliver healthier diets and a more environmentally sustainable food chain.
“It’s clear from the evidence presented that frozen has a key role to play. I hope that it will help consumers, retailers and the foodservice industry to recognise the importance of frozen in UK food provision over future decades.”
“This report is the culmination of many months of research, using the latest evidence,” adds Dr Wayne Martindale, research fellow at the Centre of Food Innovation. “The results are impressive.
“Considering what the UK population needs from its future food supply, we have found that frozen ticks many important boxes. It offers safety and high quality nutrition, provides resilience to an otherwise insecure supply chain, and delivers significant environmental benefits – especially through minimising food waste and providing all year round availability. Moving forward, in our opinion, frozen should be a key food choice for all.”
Brian Young, director general at the British Frozen Food Federation, says for many years, frozen food has been the ‘poor relation’ to chilled and fresh foods.
“Misconceptions, stigma and snobbery have prevented consumers and chefs from buying frozen. But the tide is changing,” he claims. “New research, evidence and campaigns demonstrating the ‘freshly frozen’ quality of raw ingredients and their nutritional benefits are prompting frozen to be reconsidered. And frozen sales are growing.
“This new frozen food report is a true stake in the ground for the industry. Anyone reading it will be struck by how much frozen has to offer and how far it has come since it became widely available in the 1920s.”