New British Frozen Food Federation chief executive John Hyman believes expanding the usage occasions for frozen is key to the future growth of the sector.
Speaking to FPJ at the IFE event in London, Hyman said many people associated frozen food with dinner, but that there is opportunity for frozen fruit, for example, to become linked with breakfast and snacking occasions.
Hyman joined BFFF last summer, having had an FMCG career that has included stints at such companies as Heinz, Danone and Dairy Crest, and said the two key angles for the organisation's promotional work this year will be around health and product quality. While food waste is a driver for sales of frozen, it will not form the major strand to the campaign.
Hyman also belives online is a significant area of growth for the sector, decribing it as a "leveller" as frozen food is presented on an equal footing to other products as opposed to in supermarkets, where they are often the last aisle when consumers are fed up of shopping. There is also the potential for a bigger range online, and it removes concerns about products having defrosted before getting home.
Currently frozen food sold online has a 6.6 per cent market share, and that is growing at 8.4 per cent year on year.
There has been been a flurry of innovation in frozen produce recently, with sweet potatoes, avocados, roasted veg and exotic fruit all having new introductions in the last year, and Hyman expects that trend to continue.
He also suggested that another big opportunity for the frozen sector is exporting, with 87 per cent of the organisation's members stating they'd like to export more. But he warned the sector faces similar challenges as others in FMCG, with labour a major concern for members.