ASHBY TO SUCCEED HARROW AS BFFF CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Richard Harrow joined the British Frozen Food Federation as our CEO in 2019. He has subsequently led the BFFF team through, perhaps, the most turbulent period in our industry’s history.

As we, at long last, put COVID and Brexit behind us, Richard has taken the decision that now is the time to take a richly deserved retirement. He will leave us on 30th June – with a raft of plans to see the world and spend time with family.

Richard leaves the Federation in great shape as the leading voice of the frozen food industry. The Board would like to wholeheartedly thank Richard for his commitment, enthusiasm, passion and hard work since he joined in 2019

Having conducted an extensive and detailed search, I am delighted to advise that Rupert Ashby will be taking the position of CEO from 5th July 2022.

Rupert joins the BFFF from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) where he has been a member of the Board and Director of Membership and Regions with responsibility for the overall retention and recruitment strategy for the association since 2012.

His early career was spent running farming businesses including growing peas, broccoli, cauliflowers and even chipping potatoes for the frozen food industry. So, Rupert is now truly returning to his roots!

We are confident that Rupert will be able to create the next chapter for our fantastic organisation as we build on the overall industry growth experienced in recent years.

Many of you will have the opportunity to meet him at our forthcoming gala dinner, which he is really looking forward to. I also look forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes,

Ian Stone

BFFF Board Chair

BIRDS EYE CHAMPIONS BIODIVERISTY WITH NEW CAMPAIGN AND GIVEAWAY ON-PACK-PROMOTION

Birds Eye has launched a new campaign to highlight the link between biodiversity and the food chain, as it showcases its efforts to protect biodiversity through its sustainable farming processes. The ‘Peas For Bees’ campaign is running across TV, Digital, PR, in-store and on-pack, and aims to educate the nation on the importance of sourcing food sustainably and biodiversity, as well as what shoppers can do to help protect it.

As part of the campaign, the UK’s leading frozen brand will run an on-pack promotion spanning the Birds Eye Garden Peas and Petits Pois ranges. Running until 10th June, shoppers will have the chance to win 1 of 20,000 wildflower seed boxes and take protecting biodiversity into their own hands. Shoppers can enter the on-pack-promotion by simply taking a photo of the front of the pack and upload it to the dedicated microsite to instantly discover if they are a winner.

With estimates indicating the global population will reach almost 10 billion by 2050[1], manufacturers face a challenge in how to source food sustainably to feed the growing number of people, without destroying biological diversity. Biodiversity loss currently stands at an estimated global level of 100 to 1000 times higher than the naturally occurring background extinction rate[2]. Research suggests that agriculture is currently responsible for 60% of global biodiversity loss and 82% of the population believe companies have a moral obligation to protect it[3]. 

James Hopwood, Head of Agriculture Operations at Birds Eye, said: “Shoppers are increasingly looking for brands that make a positive impact on the planet, and at Birds Eye we are committed to playing our part in helping solve the biodiversity crisis. In fact, it’s embedded in Birds Eye’s resolution to ‘serve the world with better food’: we are dedicated to providing quality food to our consumers and the impact of its production on the planet is part of this quality standard.”

Birds Eye has already made great progress in its commitments to sustainable agricultural farming, from practicing sustainable agriculture techniques to nurturing long-term relationships with local farmers to encourage sharing of expertise and values. In 2020, Birds Eye’s pea farm management group became the first farm group in the UK, and the first globally in frozen food, to be awarded Gold level status in the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment – the highest level possible.

James Hopwood continues, “Through the ‘Peas For Bees’ campaign, beyond highlighting what we are doing as a company to actively replenish biodiversity, we want to highlight to shoppers the importance of it for their futures, and the future of the planet, and what they can do themselves to safeguard our food chain. We want to inspire our shoppers to protect biodiversity through growing wildflowers, which in turn provide habitats for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. With 20,000 wildflower boxes up for grabs, the on-pack promotion across our packs of Birds Eye Peas and Petits Pois takes our commitment to supporting biodiversity that one step further, moving beyond our pea fields and into the nation’s own green spaces.”

To symbolise the launch of the campaign, Birds Eye has also donated a significant area within one of its active pea fields and planted a 25-metre-wide butterfly at one of its pea farms in North Yorkshire. Once blossomed, the native wildflowers will encourage a wide range of pollinating insects and other wildlife to thrive in the area. The bloomed butterfly also kicks off the brand’s pledge to plant 75 acres of wildflowers across the UK in the next three years, in celebration of the 75 years that Birds Eye has been growing peas in North Yorkshire.

The on-pack promotion will run across the majority of the Birds Eye Garden Peas and Petits Pois ranges and will be available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrisons, Co-op and Waitrose from the 2nd May until 10th June. Shoppers who buy the products can instantly discover if they have won by uploading a photo of the front of their purchased pack to www.birdseyeseedbox.co.uk

[1] https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2019.html

[2] https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/98443/1/Conservation_Biology_2014_early-view.pdf”

[3] http://www.biodiversitybarometer.org/consumers-views-2020 consultato il 29.7.21

GOVERNMENT DELAYS RESTRICTIONS ON MULTIBUY DEALS AND ADVERTISING OF HFSS FOODS

Members will have seen several articles in the media reporting that, due to the current cost of living crisis, Government were looking at whether now was the right time to be bringing in the ban on the promotion of  High Fats Salt Sugar (HFSS) products.

We can now confirm that restrictions WILL be delayed, however rules limiting the location of unhealthy foods in shops will go ahead as planned in October 2022. This will mean less healthy products will no longer be allowed to be promoted in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents.

Rules banning multibuy deals on foods and drinks high in fat, salt, or sugar, including buy one, get one free (BOGOF), ‘3 for 2’, and restrictions on free refills for soft drinks, will be delayed for a year. This will mean that shoppers will now be able to continue taking advantage of multibuy offers on all foods, including healthier foods which were not included in the original restrictions.

A new statutory instrument will be introduced to Parliament to confirm that the restriction of volume price promotions will be delayed.

The move also comes after Kellogg’s made a legal challenge, stating that the nutrient profiling model (NPM) used to calculate the nutritional value of cereals was not fit for purpose. They are disputing the classification of some cereals as HFSS in their dry form on the basis that cereals are eaten with milk or yoghurt in most instances.

Whilst we welcome the delay on the restriction of promotions the inability to feature such promotions on end cabinets will still have a massive impact on categories such as Ice Cream and Pizza. Promotions drive massive volumes and restricting the location for display will mean that products are likely to go off sale. We have already seen members such a Goodfellas launching HFSS complaint Pizzas, which can be both promoted and displayed on end cabinets.

We also still remain concerned that many of the most restrictive policies are aimed at the retail market, whilst the Out of Home market is still not held to the same rules.

The official Government press release can be found here

 

HOW FOOD & DRINK MANUFACTURERS CAN OVERCOME CURRENT SUPPLY CHAIN PRESSURES

In recent years, the supply chain has experienced significant disruptions. This led to a huge spike in demand during the beginning of lockdown, and creating shortages of basic household items, having a significant impact on the food and drink sector.

Recent data from Make UK shows that the manufacturing sector brings £31 billion into the UK economy each year, and is the 9th largest manufacturing country in the world. The food and drink sector has grown 3% (2010-2020) in terms of exporting and 17% gross value added as a percentage of total manufacturing.

The supply chain issues the food and drink manufacturers are still facing, is having a ripple effect, alongside the pressure to decarbonise to reach the UK’s 2050 net zero goal.

We asked our partner Inspired Energy to take a look at the extent of the challenges food and drink manufacturers are facing, and what solutions could help them.

 

Manufacturing supply chain disruptions

In the past year or so, the missing links in the supply chain have been highlighted by increasing pressures as a result of:

COVID-19

A large part of the supply chain disruptions began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdowns were enforced and the work from home order was implemented. This in turn, resulted in a shift in supply and demand creating problems for finely tuned supply chains. Impacted by the loss of manpower due to illness or travel restrictions many suppliers were forced to restrict their production and were unable to meet delivery obligations.

 

GEOPOLITICAL EFFECTS

Brexit also had an impact as the UK left the EU, more and more red tape and cross-border checks were put into place. Trade between the UK and the EU became increasingly challenging, from fluctuating exchange rates to building global management teams.

In more recent months, the invasion of Ukraine has seen substantial impacts on the supply of gas, in an already unsteady energy market. The US declared a complete ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports whilst the UK is expected to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year, to give us time to find alternative supplies. Resulting in an increase in oil and gas prices and if Russia were to halt exports this could rise further.

 

CARBON TARGETS

The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution announced in 2020 sets out the approach for the UK to reach net zero by 2050. With increased pressure to decarbonise the manufacturing process, as one of the most energy intensive industries, manufacturers need to find ways to decarbonise several areas of their business, as well as the cash investment to do so. The Food and Drink Federation have also made net zero commitments, just as many manufacturing clients that supply the sector have also, such as the retail and hospitality sectors.

 

DRIVER SHORTAGE

There was also an impact on HGV drivers due to the pandemic as driving tests were unable to take place alongside an ageing workforce and lack of diversity in the industry. Turning to overseas labour to try to solve the issue was made more challenging by new EU work rules, resulting on an impact on deliveries to the UK.

 

FUEL SHORTAGE

Last autumn, BP announced that due to a shortage of tanker drivers, they would be unable to fulfil some deliveries. This caused widespread panic-buying at petrol stations, with many queuing to fill up resulting in some stations running out of petrol and diesel before the next delivery could be made. There is currently no fuel shortage in the UK but there are still some issues with delivering fuel to some stations.

 

Closing the gap

With all the pressures the supply chain is facing, and the direct impact that is having on food and drink manufacturers, how can they overcome these challenges and move toward a more secure supply chain in the near future?

 

SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCE

Within the food and drink manufacturing sector, some are having to shut down or slow production as operating costs become even more expensive. To tackle this, some manufacturers may either absorb the costs or pass the costs onto their customers – both of which are unfeasible.

Working to ensure that the supply chain is resilient enough to withstand any future resource issues is another task manufacturers need to prepare for. Working with a wider pool of suppliers can help ensure that when sourcing ingredients becomes difficult, they have a range of alternative options to go to. This should include regional suppliers and a plan for keeping larger strategic stocks. Supplier relationships and customer loyalty are essential to having a resilient supply chain that helps your business thrive.

 

REDUCING COSTS THROUGH YOUR ENERGY

More and more end user businesses are now focusing on ESG and their Scope 3 emissions. This will have a knock-on effect for all manufacturers, and they will need to show sustainability credentials and reduce their emissions.

As a result of supply chain partners to the food and drink sector making their own commitments to net zero, manufacturers must now also actively reduce their environmental impact to drive efficiency and satisfy the requests of their clients. Being able to demonstrate they have a robust decarbonisation plan in place makes manufacturers an attractive supply chain partner to many potential clients supporting their competitiveness in what can be a low margin sector.

Reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption can help reduce manufacturers overall energy costs. Announced in the governments energy security strategy, the Energy Intensive Industries (EII) compensation scheme has also been extended, to support manufacturers with soaring energy costs.

But working towards a net zero carbon future, may be the answer to tackling the pressures manufacturers are facing.

 

For more information on how to reach net zero, get in touch with our experts by emailing hello@inspiredenergy.co.uk or by speaking directly to Wayne Brown on 01772 689250 or via email wayne.brown@inspiredenergy.co.uk

COMPANY SHOP GROUP SAVES 98 MILLION PRODUCTS FROM WASTE, THROUGH POWERFUL PARTNERSHIPS

Company Shop Group has announced a record year in the fight against unnecessary food waste as it reports handling more than 98 million surplus products last year alone, powered by the strength of its partnerships.

Company Shop’s latest Sustainability Report, launched today, reveals that the Group, which is the UK’s leading surplus redistributor, saved 34,590 tonnes of food and products from needlessly going to waste in 2021.

The Group continues to provide unparalleled surplus solutions to the industry through its ‘one-stop shop’ offer, critical in today’s climate as businesses look to maximise economic and social value. As such, the Group reports delivering a financial return of £32.9million to its partners across the year, taking the total figure paid back over the last decade to £165 million.

The Group’s estate enjoyed a further period of sustained growth, with the successful opening of four new Company Shop stores, two new Community Shop stores, and the establishment of a further three staff shops on partner manufacturing sites.

Easing the challenges brought by the cost-of-living squeeze, Company Shop Group has helped to stretch hundreds of thousands of family budgets by collectively saving its members over £80million on their shopping. To bolster its impact, over the last year the Group has extended its membership base to include charities and welcomed a further 250,000 new members through its doors.

The success of the Group’s award-winning social enterprise, Community Shop, is also celebrated within the report. The ever-growing social supermarket network received a 34% increase in donations from industry partners over the year, enabling it to provide the equivalent of over 2,950,000 meals for individuals and families most in need.

By working in collaboration with food businesses, charities, local authorities, grass-root organisations and housing associations, Community Shop supported over 20,500 households last year, with over 8,000 members engaging in life-changing Hub activities.

With its Sustainability Report focused on The Power Of Partnerships, the Group has paid tribute to its long-standing partners within the retail, manufacturing and hospitality industries. It also celebrates its new ties with the likes of Too Good To Go, the continued success of its pioneering Luminary Programme, and the ongoing support received from senior politicians, sectors leaders and anchor institutions.

Now part of the Biffa family, the Group is perfectly positioned to continue to deliver transformational social, economic and environmental impact.

Commenting on the Power of Partnerships report, Steph McGinty, Managing Director of Company Shop Group said: 

“At Company Shop Group we have always sought to work collaboratively with our industry partners and wider stakeholders, as we believe that together we can be a force for good and make a genuine and positive difference for the people and world around us – socially, commercially and environmentally. 

“I am immensely proud of the versatility and resilience that the Group has shown over the last year, and the brilliant outcomes we have achieved at the end of it all. As celebrated in our latest Sustainability Report, we’ve continued to work with our partners to turn problems into potential, and to support our communities; two of the things we care about most. 

“Today’s achievements would not have been possible without our talented colleagues and powerful partnerships. However, we’re not stopping here, and we know there is a lot more we can do by working together, so I would urge any organisation looking to unlock true value from their stock to partner with Company Shop Group, as we work to create a world where no surplus needlessly goes to waste.” 

Gary Stott, Chairman of Community Shop commented: 

“It has been another phenomenal year in Community Shop’s journey, reflected in the significant increase we have seen in our partnerships, donations and support from businesses and organisations, and in the life-changing outcomes we have delivered for the people and communities we’re so proud to serve. 

“It is fitting that this year’s sustainability report recognises and celebrates the power of collaboration when it comes to delivering lasting impact, and unlocking the full potential of surplus. As evidenced within our latest figures, Community Shop is about so much more than just food, and our impact is made possible by the generosity and support of our partners who share our vision and passion for generating positive change. 

“We would like to thank everyone who has played their part in building on Community Shop’s legacy over the last year, and I look forward to working with even more partners in the year ahead as we build these latest achievements.”

 

VERTICAL SEAL TRAY & DOLAV LINERS

Plastic Reduction by Design

  • Design to fit your trays perfectly to use less plastic
  • Reduce entrapment at the base of the bag
  • Specialised blending for frozen food applications
  • Eliminates seal leakages

Over the last 18 months we have seen all grades of plastic raw material prices increasing significantly and in some instances the costs have more than doubled. With the addition of inflationary pressures across every aspect of manufacturing and the new UK Plastic Packaging Tax, a further £200/t has been applied to virgin food contact Polyethylene (PE) films for all manufacturers and convertors from April 1st 2022.

As a UK manufacturer of PE bags and liners for the food processing sector for over 50 years, we have the innovation and technical capabilities to help in reducing these continuing on costs,and saving plastic usage without compromising performance.

Historically gauge reduction has generally been the first recommendation of the PE supplier to save on costs. Though this has had a certain level of success as polymer blends have developed, many customers have exhausted the down gauging options and fear any further reductions will result in a contamination risk.

Over recent years Hanmere, in close cooperation with food processors, has focussed more on the bag designs and sizing, especially on high volume products such as standard plastic tray and dolav liners.

The Vertical Seal liners are available for both applications and the conversion rates from standard bottom seal bags to vertical seal runs into millions of bags per year.

Why choose Vertical? 

Manufactured with the vertical side seal, rather than the more traditional bottom seal which has pockets at the base of the bag where product can be entrapped, these liners provide a custom fit to all corners of the tray.  Therefore, a reduction in polythene usage can be achieved by design, usually saving 8% to 10% in bag sizing. With the removal of the bottom seal, fresh and frozen product is easier to decant, and possible fluid leakages are eradicated.

If you would like to discuss your requirements with an account manager, please contact our sales office at sales@hanmere.co.uk  or call 01462 474777.

www.hanmere.co.uk

FURTHER DISCUSSIONS ON RAPESEED OIL DEROGATIONS

Several members have asked if there are any further updates on the labelling derogations for the use of substitute oils for rapeseed oil. We are assured that the FSA and Defra are looking at labelling legislation and understand the ongoing need for flexibility. We have been informed this morning that they have been weighing up options and risk, including from a legal perspective, and now believe they have reached a shared conclusion whilst bearing in mind their overarching obligation to ensure consumers are not misled.

We are reminded that a four-country solution is needed and as such, further discussions are taking place with Scotland and NI before issuing any official guidance which will hopefully be next week.

We will keep members updated as soon as we know more.

DAWN FOODS LAUNCHES READY TO SERVE VEGAN DONUTS

Dawn Foods has further expanded its range of vegan thaw and serve products with the launch of a vegan finished frozen donut.

Available in two classic shapes – a glazed ring donut and a jam filled ball donut; Dawn’s new Vegan Donuts have an artisanal, handmade appearance with a light crumb structure to give a soft eat. Simply thaw as needed and sell. Both donuts are covered with Dawn’s unique Non-Sticky Donut Glaze which guarantees bakers and caterers easier product handling once thawed. This glaze also means bakers and caterers can sell the new vegan donuts in packaging without the worry of the glaze being smudged.

Dawn’s new Vegan Donuts defrost in just two hours and are ideal for bakers who wish to capitalise on the current boom in donut popularity, as well as the massive growth in vegan and flexitarian eating. These tasty donuts have no artificial colours or flavours and have been developed to appeal to everyone, making them an easy solution for operators as they do not have to ‘double up’ on stock.

Jacqui Passmore Marketing Manager UK and Ireland at Dawn Foods comments:

“Dawn’s new Vegan Donuts are the natural extension to our portfolio of vegan frozen finished products and mixes which have seen impressive sales growth since their launch.

“The significant number of people now choosing vegan and flexitarian bakery options along with the renaissance of the donut category – from plain iced through to elaborately filled and topped donuts – made it a logical step to launch a donut in our frozen vegan range offering.”

“Many leading donut brands have picked up on the vegan donut trend, so Dawn’s artisanal finished Vegan Donuts will enable high street bakers and caterers to follow suit.”

For more information about Dawn Foods please visit www.dawnfoods.com/uk