ICELAND SIGNS DEAL WITH JD.COM TO OFFER FROZEN FOOD TO ONE BILLION CUSTOMERS IN CHINA

Iceland Foods confirms its agreement to supply a range of its high quality, frozen food products to online retail giant JD.com

JD.com will be offering a range of Iceland frozen food items to its customers across China including award winning products such as its wood fired, stone-baked Italian pizzas which are produced in the heart of the Italian countryside as well as an array of snacks, ready meals and some of its famed ice-cream and desserts.

JD.com is one of China’s largest online retailers and sets the standard for online shopping through its commitment to quality, authenticity, and its vast product offering everything from fresh food, apparel, electronics, and cosmetics. Its unrivalled nationwide fulfilment network provides standard same- and next-day delivery covering a population of more than 1 billion.

Alistair Cooke, Head of Iceland International, commented: “We are now starting to see some real growth for the Iceland brand in China, and I have no doubt our new relationship with the esteemed JD.com will help us gain further recognition for the famous Iceland name across the country”.

JD-worldwide food, beverage, pet supplies, and fresh food director Jacky Xie said: “JD Worldwide is currently making efforts in the field of cross-border fresh food category. We will not only make full use of advantages of our platform, but also integrate supply chain resources. We cooperate with well-known brands and retailers around the world to provide excellent one-stop imported fresh food shopping experience for Chinese consumers.”

As well as occupying the position of No.1 frozen food retailer in the UK, Iceland Foods is no stranger to supplying products to international retailers and foodservice outlets, covering a further 60 countries across the world.

BIRDS EYE PARTNER WITH ASDA TO LAUNCH £20K “PAY YOUR BILLS” COMPETITION

To demonstrate how frozen food can support shoppers and consumers during the current cost of living crisis, Birds Eye has launched an Asda-exclusive competition that gives shoppers the chance to win £20,000 worth of prizes to help pay their bills. Running until the 14th June, the campaign will highlight the benefits of frozen food during these challenging times, which can also help to reduce household grocery bills.

The cost of living has had a drastic impact on consumers, with shopper research data showing that the average UK monthly salary is less than the average household expenses each month (1). Frozen food has always played an important role in helping shoppers get more for their money, offering consumers longer shelf-life and greater portion control which helps reduce food waste and therefore allowing budgets to stretch further. In fact, when swapping like for like fresh and frozen products, shoppers can make a saving of almost 25% on average, while receiving up to 50% more for the same price (2).

As the brand leader in the frozen category (3), Birds Eye is proud to support families through the inherent benefits of its frozen offering. The competition with Asda will help to reinforce the value of the category, while offering extra help for those shoppers who could benefit from support with their household bills.

Louise Collier, Category Development Director at Birds Eye, said “Frozen food has an important role to play during these challenging times. With the cost of living rising steeply, we’re all too aware that many shoppers find it difficult to pay for their weekly household bills, and so are looking for both support and ways they can save money. Despite this, there is still a misconception that frozen food is of lower quality than fresh food, when in fact it is just as nutritious and offers many cost-saving benefits. As well as helping shoppers get more for their money due to its longer shelf life, frozen food also helps to reduce food waste and help shoppers’ money go further thanks to how it can be portioned so that only what’s needed is cooked.”

“With all the inherent benefits of frozen food there’s a natural connection between the Birds Eye portfolio and helping shopper’s money stretch that little further. This competition underlines the “Food For All” pillar of our company purpose which strives to ensure that everyone can enjoy great mealtimes every day. With over £20,000 worth of prizes, this competition goes one step further in ensuring shopper’s feel supported at this challenging time.”

The competition will run with a Text to Win mechanic, with all entrants required to have proof of purchase of a Birds Eye product in an Asda store.

 


1 https://www.nimblefins.co.uk/average-uk-household-budget#nogo – 30th March 2021
2 Based on base online prices on 6.5.22 comparing 6 of Frozen bestselling lines to equivalent lines across the rest of the store, average across
3 Nielsen ScanTrack, total coverage, total frozen defined, L52wk w/e 23rd April 2022.

FSA ISSUE FURTHER GUIDANCE RELATING TO SUNFLOWER OIL SUBSTITUTION AND LABELLING

Following previous communications concerning the reformulation of products due to supply chain issues linked to the current conflict in Ukraine, the FSA has now issued further guidance.

This latest guidance concerns the provisions within the existing legal framework for labelling where there is grouping of vegetables oils and provides further clarification on the application of labelling provisions in the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation.

Please note that previous guidance sent out to Local Authorities (LAs) still applies and the request for LAs to adopt a pragmatic approach in relation to supply chain matters linked to Ukraine is still in place.

The guidance describes the relevant labelling rules, including on grouping refined vegetable oils on the ingredients list when there is expected to be a variation in the use of one or more oils. It also provides guiding principles for how to provide compliant consumer information when the use of oils is expected to vary.

It is fairly self-explanatory, but in summary there are two options:

1)            Grouping oils on an ingredients list in ‘varying proportions’

Refined oils of vegetable origin are exempt from the usual requirement to list each oil separately by weight, when grouped together. The ‘in varying proportions’ provision in the FIC Regulation means that:

  • Refined vegetable oils may be grouped together as ‘vegetable oils’. The oils must then be specified to allow consumers to express their preferences e.g. ‘vegetable oils (sunflower; rapeseed)’.
  • When the use of two or more refined vegetable oils is expected to vary, the phrase ‘in varying proportions’ may be used after the information about the vegetable origin. For example: ‘vegetable oils (sunflower; rapeseed) in varying proportions’.

When using the wording ‘varying proportions’ we would expect a percentage (more than 0%) of each specified oil remains included in the product. For example, if sunflower oil and rapeseed oil are specified, there must be an expectation that both oils will be in the product

2)           Using ‘and/or’ when mutually substitutable oils make up less than 2% of the finished product

When two similar or mutually substitutable ingredients (for example similar refined vegetable oils) make up less than 2% of the finished product. In this case, using ‘and/or’ is acceptable in the ingredients lists when at least one of the oils is present in the finished product. For example, “contains sunflower oil and/or rapeseed oil”.

The use of “and/or” should not be used for vegetable oils listed in FIC Annex II as known to cause allergies or intolerances.

If you have any queries relating to this matter please do not hesitate to contact deniserion@bfff.co.uk or the FSA directly at receiptandmanagement@food.gov.uk

A NEW SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE RECENTLY LAUNCHED BY WRAP

Members may be interested in a new initiative recently launched by WRAP to help businesses understand their scope 3 emissions.  These are emissions that are created from the products and raw materials members purchase.

For many companies, their Scope 3 emissions may well be the single highest contributor to their GHGs.

One of the key issues is that a lot of data in the market varies which results in potentially inaccurate data.  The WRAP protocols are designed to bring some consistency to the data.

They have created a Footprint Questionnaire for the following categories:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Cheese
  • Warm water prawns
  • Coffee
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Wine

They have then created a template guide for any product outside of the above list.

Members can access details about the initiative and the assets available by following this link

WEEKLY EU IMPORT CONTROLS – 23rd May

As we advised in the Weekly on 5th May, the Government have announced they have delayed further import controls on POAO and High-Risk Goods that are imported from the EU.

It was planned that S.P.S checks would be introduced on a staged basis from 1st July.

Defra have now advised us on several calls that they will design a new process with three key strands:

  1. It will be digitised
  2. It will be simplified
  3. It will be proportionate

They have also said they are keen to engage with industry as they design this new process.  Therefore, we are inviting members to contact us to discuss if they would like to engage directly with Defra or be part of a group of BFFF members that feed information into Defra via the BFFF,

Please can you contact Holly Jones if you want to be part of this consultation process.

THE GALA DINNER DANCE: NEW YEAR, NEW VENUE

We look forward to welcoming members back to the glitz and glamour of the BFFF Gala Dinner Dance. The first year back after the pandemic, with a slight change to the format of the evening and the venue.

New venue

We are very excited to hold our first event at The Brewery, a Grade II listed venue occupying the buildings of Whitbread’s 18th Century beer-making empire and we will be taking advantage of 2 spaces for the evening.

The King George room (named after his visit in 1787) features exposed brick, a barrel-vaulted ceiling and period lanterns where Gala Dinner guests will begin their evening.

The Gala Dinner Dance - The King George Room

Guests will then enjoy the heritage and character of the Porter Tun room where the awards and dinner will be held for the rest of the evening.

The Gala Dinner Dance The Porter Tun Room

Format of the evening

Evening guests will be welcomed to The Brewery at 18:30 with a complimentary sparkling drinks reception. Gala Dinner guests will then move into the Porter Tun room, at 19:30,  where the evening of celebrations will begin with the announcements of the Frozen Food People Award winners.

Guest will then enjoy a three-course dinner at their allocated tables, where they will be able to enjoy any pre-ordered drinks. Once the dinner is over, guests will be able to enjoy entertainment and the much-anticipated frozen food award announcements.

Truly a night to celebrate.

Once the presentations are over, Gala Dinner guests can dance late into the evening with our live band under the 18th Century timber roof. The evening will then come to a close at 01:30 am, where guests can either carry on the celebrations in the nearby bars or end the evening in their hotels.

Book your tickets today

A night of celebration for the Frozen Food industry. Full of good food, entertainment and industry achievements. Make sure you buy your tickets today or bring along your team and have your own company table for the evening.

Book now

BFFF TECHNICAL CONFERENCE 2022 PROVES TO BE A GREAT SUCCESS!

The BFFF Technical team were delighted to finally be able to meet members and non-members in person at their annual Technical Conference, held on 12th May at The British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.

Whilst we’ve all become accustomed to a different way of working over the last few years, I think we were all in agreement that nothing quite replaces being able to listen to live speakers and network with such a diverse range of industry representatives. Running alongside the BFFF Health and Safety Conference also meant that, with double the number of people, it provided the ideal opportunity for networking.

For the first time ever at this event, delegates had the opportunity to visit exhibition stands, many of whom were also presenting throughout the day. Initial conversations have shown they were a great success, with a number of delegates saying they had provided very useful information with which to go back to their businesses with. Several of the exhibitors have also thanked us saying that they had made valuable new connections. Win-win!

Working with the theme of ‘Building a Better Future’ and splitting the day into 3 sessions and 3 discussion panels, delegates from across the industry came together to explore how together we can create a sustainable, safe and healthy future.

With so many highlights, it’s difficult to decide which to shine a spotlight on. However, special thanks must go to our event sponsors BOC who opened the day with a very informative talk on decarbonisation. This was nicely complimented by Foundation Earth who explored the very topical area of environmental labelling. WRAP then updated the room on the progress of the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and really opened our eyes on the phenomenal amount of food that is wasted in the UK. The good news is that businesses signed up to the Roadmap saved 26,000 tonnes more food in 2020 alone. To put this into context this equates to over 60 million meals!

We always try and include something innovative at our conferences and the presentation on innovative solutions to single use plastics from Xampla didn’t disappoint! With the ambition of being the world leader in replacements for plastic, they have developed a unique technology based on breakthrough science from the University of Cambridge to produce 100% plant based and vegan alternatives. Really exciting stuff! – if you missed the event but want to know more then please let us know.

And it didn’t stop there…with Roy Betts from Campden BRI on pathogens versus science, Claire Florey from Greggs sharing the learnings and challenges on prepacked for direct sale (PPDS), Juliet King from our Primary Authority telling us what the life of an Environmental Health Officer is really like and the NCSC and COOK offering fantastic advice on how to protect your business from the threat of cybercrime, there were so many take outs from the day.

We were also very privileged to be joined by Tim McLachlan of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation (NARF) who gave us an update in the advancements in the fight against food allergies. Do you realise there are 2-3 million people in the UK living with a with food allergy? And worryingly there has been a 600% increase in A&E Hospital Admissions since 2005!

The Foundations vision is “To prevent and eradicate allergic disease, starting with food allergy, creating a world that is safe for all people with allergies”. It is the only charity in the UK dedicated to funding allergy medical research. You may have seen the exciting announcement in the media this week about the launch of The Natasha Clinical Trial. Costing £2.2million, involving 5 universities the aim is to make food allergy immunotherapy available on the NHS. If you haven’t heard about it, you really must take a look here

All that remains to say is a big thank you to all those who attended and supported our event this year. We are already planning our 2023 Conference so any thoughts/suggestions would as always be more than welcome, please email deniserion@bfff.co.uk or hollyjones@bfff.co.uk. An event feedback questionnaire will also be distributed in the coming days, so we would really appreciate you spending 5 minutes to complete it. Your input is really valued!

In the meantime, if you would like to receive the speaker slides, from those who have given us permission to share, please contact Holly Jones

2022 FROZEN FOOD AWARDS

On June 16th we will announce the winners of the British Frozen Food Awards.  This prestigious event showcases the best products in frozen food in both retail and foodservice.

The process for the judging took place over several weeks with both consumer panels and an expert group of chefs.

The range and diversity of products entered into the awards this year was fascinating to analyse, with over 137 products entered from 28 different companies.  We were also delighted to see M&S enter our awards for the first time in many years.

These products were tested by groups of consumers, who rated them organoleptically before finding out who supplied them as well as the price.  We also asked consumers to score the products against a range of questions covering;

  • Appeal of packaging
  • Functionality of packaging
  • Ease of use
  • Value for money
  • Overall opinion
  • Likelihood to purchase

After they had been evaluated by the consumer panels, the products were tested by an expert panel to provide more insightful analysis. We first started using the expert panel in this way during the judging of the 2020 awards when our consumer panel process was interrupted by the pandemic. We found it added additional insight on products when combined with consumer panels. Thus, we retained this as part of the judging process. Whilst our expert panel provide valuable insight on the products, we weight the scoring so that the views of our consumer panels have a bigger impact on the final score a product achieves.

Across the seven retail product categories, we saw both family favourites to luxury innovation plus quite a few plant-based products. Within each category, we also asked panellists to nominate which products they considered to have shown the highest level of innovation.  All scores were then analysed to find the overall product that showed outstanding innovation.

In foodservice, we had 73 products entered from 22 different companies.  These products were assessed using an expert panel of chefs drawn from the Craft Guild of Chefs.

We had a slightly different method of judging the foodservice category as we used the expertise of the Chefs to assess the products across the following criteria.

  • Suitability of packaging
  • Environmentally friendly e.g., not over-packaged
  • Appearance
  • Ease of service
  • Eating quality

Finally, we also asked them to rate products in each category based on which products showed the greatest level of innovation.

For the first time this year, we used 2 types of automated data capture systems for our Foodservice and Retail panels. Both were linked to a central data sheet which was tracked by one of the panel hosts throughout the judging process. This ensured all results were properly recorded before the next products were brought out. The new systems required all judges to comment on each of the products which were automatically captured and collated ready to be sent to members with a feedback form that will include the scores achieved by their products.

These reports will be issued once we have announced the results of the awards on 16 June at the Gala Dinner.

Book your tickets to attend the Gala Dinner Dance HERE