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Frozen food sales increase despite Recession

06 May 2010

New research shows frozen food sales increased in the UK food service sector between 2006-2009 - despite fewer outlets and falling overall sales

Data compiled by Horizons FS Ltd on behalf of the British Frozen Food Federation shows the total value of frozen food purchases increased by 2.4% over the period. Total frozen food purchases were worth £2,261,000 in 2009, compared to £2,209,000 in 2006.

But at the same time the number of outlets in the sector fell by 1.8%. And the number of meals provided by the sector, which includes restaurants, hotels, pubs, institutional and leisure outlets, also fell by 4.4%.

Brian Young, director general of the British Frozen Food Federation commented: “This research makes interesting reading for the frozen food sector. It suggests we have been performing well despite challenging economic times for the foodservice sector as a whole. Meal numbers are falling and outlets are falling, but frozen food sales are holding up well.

“This demonstrates the numerous cost and convenience advantages of using frozen ingredients and prepared meals in the food services sector. Chefs are increasingly finding that frozen alternatives offer them the opportunity to cut costs while still meeting the stringent demands of their customers for high quality, nutritious meals.”

“The frozen food market offers foodservice outlets competitive prices, year round price stability and availability, and opportunities to improve portion control and reduce waste. Using frozen alternatives can also help chefs to reduce kitchen labour costs. And with the quality and taste of frozen food now better than ever, thanks to recent improvements in freezing technology, there’s more reasons than ever to make the switch.”

Latest figures for the restaurant sector (including full-service and quick-service outlets) suggest meal numbers have been falling for these outlets too – although the number of outlets has risen slightly, due in large part to the growth of sandwich and coffee shops. Meal numbers were down 4.1% for full service restaurants over the period, and by 2.8% for quick service outlets.

Brian Young adds: “People do seem to be eating out less and the restaurant sector does seem to be feeling the effects of the recession despite the growth in outlets. We’re pleased with how the frozen food sector is performing in this challenging market.”

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