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BFFF's Alf Carr: soft numbers temporary in QFF market with nowhere to go but up.

BFFF's Alf Carr: Soft Numbers Temporary In QFF Market With Nowhere to Go But Up

Forget the United Kingdom's slight tonnage drop in retail frozen food sales. There's vast potential out there just waiting to be tapped into. And as far as the director general of the British Frozen Food Federation is concerned, less volume in the past year translated to more money anyway as light added value items such as prepared meals continue to trend up against heavy, lower priced commodities.

"We still are very much in a healthy business environment," assured Alf Carr. "Processors just have to keep offering quality, convenience and value for the money. It's important that frozens not be allowed to become cheap and cheerful."

The effervescent industry spokesman, who put sterling growth at 4.6% last year, estimated that the total market (inclusive of ice cream, poultry and red meat cuts) is over 3 billion [pounds]. And he figures the catering segment is likely to be much larger than most think -- maybe 600,000 [pounds] to 800,000 [pounds].

"Sure, there's temporary softness in the numbers at the moment. But long term prospects for frozens are good both at the retail and catering levels," said Carr. "Whole new niches are being born. Just look at what confectionery companies such as Mars are doing. They're bringing what once were ambient shelf products into the frozen food case. Chocolate manufacturers have learned how to profitably live with the Greenhouse Effect."

The director general, noting that his Grantham office is always on the lookout for export leads, voiced confidence that British QFF producers will boost their sales abroad in the years ahead. He took pride in pointing out that Kitchen Range in Cambridge is supplying apple pie slices to all McDonald's fast food restaurants in Europe -- not just in the UK.

On the subject of incorporation of the European Directive for Quick Frozen Foods into British law, Carr pointed out that it is primarily designed to protect quality levels for the consumer. "It is good to know that `cowboy' wholesalers delivering frozen foods in non-refrigerated vehicles will become subject to enforcement by environmental health officers."

He also made it clear that the term quick frozen food presents both producers and retailers with a dilemma as to whether to label their product as quick frozen or simply frozen. "While the Federation can only advise on the marketing of quick frozen foods, many members have already expressed the view that it will inevitably become a quality symbol, that the temperature controls will become popular with consumers and media commentators alike, and that anything less could appear as shortchanging the consumer on quality.

"It is apparent that it will be widely adopted and that companies should look to considering the cost advantages in making packaging design changes at the same time as they are making arrangements to incorporate the `Best Before' datemarking if they decide on the quick frozen option."

PHOTO : Not overly concerned about a hiccup in the numbers, British Frozen Food Federation Director General Alf Carr is optimistic about future growth.
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Title Annotation:British Frozen Food Federation, quick frozen foods
Author:Saulnier, John M.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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