Feb 13th, 2022
6 mins

New Frozen Food Report shows how utilising frozen helps outlets cope with fluctuating covers, staff shortages and supply disruptions  

  • Frozen food supports back-to-basics menu approaches
  • Foodservice market expected to reach £95bn in 2022, still 5% below 2019
  • Demand for delivery options expected to remain

The British foodservice sector has been hobbled by successive lockdowns, plummeting consumer confidence and deepening disruption to supply chains during the past two years. But the Frozen Food Report 2022, launched today, says that against this backdrop, frozen food is coming to the fore.

Richard Harrow, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said: “Many foodservice operators found that offering their usual menu was almost impossible on reopening after covid restrictions. Whether due to having fewer kitchen staff or unpredictable diner numbers, many menus were replanned and frozen food offered a solution to several problems.

“The convenience and longer shelf life of frozen is allowing operators to adapt to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic while reducing food waste and helping them hit their sustainability targets.”

The report highlights the ‘back-to-basics’ approach that has been favoured by many operators. Paring down menus means that kitchen skills don’t have to stretch as far. Choosing a frozen version of tricky, labour intensive dishes like beef wellington, southern fried chicken and souffles allows outlets to provide consistent quality with minimal prep time.

Hopes of a Christmas sales boost were dashed with the emergence of the Omicron variant in the last quarter of 2022 which forced thousands of would-be diners into isolation while keeping cautious customers away.

Harrow added: “Restrictions for dining out may have been lifted in summer, but the foodservice sector wasn’t able to recover to reach anywhere near pre-pandemic numbers. Britain now has at least 10,000 fewer licensed premises than it did before the pandemic hit. Our predictions show that the total foodservice market is to reach around £95bn in 2022, which is still 5% below 2019 levels.”

As consumers have developed new habits and preferences, The Frozen Food Report 2022 also predicts that foodservice outlets will still be expected to provide enhanced delivery and take away options.

Harrow said: “Consumers have become more accustomed to food delivery and collection. This element of foodservice will continue to grow. Consumers now expect to be able to get what they want, when they want, and where they want it. This demand has driven innovation in sector tech, for example the OrderPay app works with What3Words to enable foodservice delivery to whichever 3m square space a consumer is in, such as parks, festivals and events.”

He concluded: “Frozen’s proved ability to cut food waste is also going to see it gaining a bigger role in foodservice outlets in response to consumer demands for more sustainable food and operators publicly declared CSR objectives.”

The Frozen Food Report 2022 brings together research from leading names including Kantar Worldpanel and IGD to give a full picture of the market for frozen food. It has been produced by the BFFF Young Leaders Forum, with input from BFFF members, and features opinions and market predictions from industry leaders, including foodservice consultant Peter Backman, founder of Simon Stenning, and Hugo Mahoney, former CEO of Brakes Group.

Copies of the Frozen Food Report are available from here


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