BFFF Exclusive: Health and Well-being

Health and Well-being in Frozen Food

With levels of awareness around health and well-being growing when it comes to food, frozen food is in an ideal position to help tackle these concerns.

Brian Young, chief executive of British Frozen Food Federation

In my last column, I referred to research which has shown that freezing food within hours of it being picked from the ground can help lock in key nutrients. And, as well as providing key nutritional benefits, frozen food also offers competitive pricing compared to fresh food across the retail and foodservice sectors.

However, there is still more that could be done to help drive sales in the frozen food industry, with a recent poll from the FSA highlighting there were misunderstandings from consumers when it came to freezing and defrosting food. With the majority of professional chefs and caterers now stating that they use frozen food in their kitchens regularly, the real education must focus around changing consumers’ misconceptions about frozen.

Formidable Frozen

In recent years frozen food businesses and brands have invested heavily in producing high-quality NPD across the retail and foodservice sectors. From products that have helped reduce food waste and preparation time to luxury items such as lobster tail, frozen food is able to effectively meet the requirements for almost everybody.

With the frozen food industry continuing to produce high-quality NPD across the retail and foodservice sectors, it is now more imperative than ever that frozen food businesses invest in educating their customers about the benefits of frozen.

One way that manufacturers can effectively do this is through their packaging. Food packaging and labeling is one direct way of targeting consumers and should be considered by businesses that are serious about changing perceptions. Manufacturers need to ensure packaging provides guidance about freezing and storage and not just cooking instructions. Including additional information can help to further educate consumers, which can ensure food waste is kept to a minimum and drive sales in the retail sector.

Provenance

Food provenance has become a topic which has continued to drive sales of food across both the retail and foodservice sector. This focus has migrated over from the foodservice sector which has had a heavy emphasis on sourcing locally produced food. In recent years there has been substantial investment from frozen food brands and businesses into the promotion of frozen food. Major UK retailers have run campaigns focusing on the source of their products, while still emphasizing the great taste of frozen food.

The campaigns have concentrated on showing frozen food as being produced and not processed, with frozen food items’ provenance being highlighted and celebrated.

Frozen Assets

Consumers are also increasingly concerned about what is going into their food, with a lot of focus around food additives. Another poll from the FSA revealed that over a quarter of consumers said they were worried about additives such as preservatives and coloring. The ability of the freezing process to preserve food in peak condition without the need for additives or preservatives has been recognized for many years and is a factor that will benefit the frozen food industry moving forward.

Freezing is one of the most natural ways of preserving food and has been used for thousands of years to ensure that food is kept at the peak of its nutritional value. The lack of additives in the majority of frozen food items represents a huge opportunity for brands and businesses to tap into this consumer concern. With the significant bank of existing evidence underpinning the benefits of frozen, researchers have recommended frozen food as an effective way of providing nutritious meals for those under hospital care. They also highlighted additional advantages of using frozen food on a catering scale, such as its contribution towards alleviating cost and time restraints, freeing up of resources which could be spent on the provision. As well as its contribution to reducing food waste, improved price stability, availability and convenience.

All these factors, in one way or another, contribute to the health and well-being of consumers and must continue to be pushed to highlight the large number of benefits that frozen food can offer.