Temperature-controlled food expert Rick Bestwick says it is handling more chilled products than ever before.
The former food manufacturer which specialises in cold storage and ‘up-tempering’ believes the chilled sector represents a major opportunity to producers and retailers.
It comes as statistics show sales of convenience and chilled products have increased for consecutive years – with Rick Bestwick predicting a continued upward trend.
Kevin Hancock, Managing Director of the Chesterfield-based firm, said: “As a company with such strong ties to frozen, it may seem contradictory to highlight chilled as the ‘one-to-watch’ but in food production many chilled products do start out frozen.
“Whether that is in ingredient form or as the final product which is brought up to temperature before hitting the supermarket shelves – the reality is, frozen and chilled go hand-in-hand.”
Chilled food production in the UK is currently one of the fastest-growing sectors with budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl earmarked as contributing to that growth.
Kevin said: “Despite being seen as discounters these retailers have ‘premiumised’ the chilled sector. But by offering a reduced range made up of top quality products, they are able to keep manufacturing levels high and prices low – which ultimately draws in the customer and boosts growth.
“One of the chilled market’s biggest issues is its short shelf life and the logistical supply chain in getting products from manufacture to retail ‘just in time’. You always have to be ahead of the game, and that can result in food waste and financial loss.”
As a result, Rick Bestwick has recently opened Europe’s largest ‘up-tempering’ facility. It enables both manufacturers and retailers to thaw frozen products to precise temperatures at record speeds using state-of-the-art microwaving equipment. The technology also reduces drip loss – something which can otherwise heavily cut into profit margins.
Rick Bestwick, part of the Magnavale family, has a network of sites across the UK. The company also has a partnership deal with Europe’s largest logistics firm DFDS Logistics, which provides all of the group’s transport services.
Kevin added: “Rick Bestwick has seen a surge in the number of chilled products leaving our facilities. There has been a particular increase in finished retail packaged goods. Chilled has been on-the-rise for many years, but it is clear that it will continue to enjoy growth for many more to come.
“Our experience in food manufacturing, extensive network of coldstores, cutting-edge technology, value-added services and market-leading supply chain logistics ensures Rick Bestwick truly is a one-stop shop for producers and retailers to take advantage of this increasing opportunity.”