Printer Friendly

What has a greater impact on sales - economic or natural climatic changes?

There is a real opportunity in the UK of proving, perhaps once and for all, this reporter's contention that the natural climate has more effect on the frozen food industry than the economic climate. During the entire month of July and into August, the weather has been most unseasonable over the country. And during the greater part of this period Europe stumbled in an economic crisis culminating in the virtual breakdown of the much heralded European Monetary System and the resulting devaluation of a majority of national currencies. Tourists from the UK traveling on the Continent were quite excited about the possibility of getting more francs and, especially, more pesetas for their traveler's cheques.

Personally, I do not believe that the nations of Europe will want to forfeit their own currencies -- whether it makes economic sense or not -- anymore than we will all begin to settle for the same food menu or speak the same language. Usually the extreme Common Market fanatics suggest that only through being totally "common" can Europe hope to compete with the USA or Japan. But they are each one nation, even though in the former tastes and dialects vary considerably from east to west and from north to south.

In little old Britain tastes and dialects also vary. Some prefer Scottish haggis to the Cornish Pastie, and have you ever heard an East Anglian trying to converse with a Highlander? The Scots enjoy haddock and potatoes, whereas the English like cod and green vegetables. Of course both are attracted to french fries, but not because they have any connection with the land across the English channel!

Having referred to this waterway, it is appropriate to note the Euro-Tunnel, which surely will be open for traffic within the next year or so. This is one introduction that just might make for a more common market. And not simply because it will become easier for the very profitable British food retailers (the superstore operators) to put more foreign goods on their shelves and in frozen food cases.

Actually it is the British frozen food industry that ought to be able to make use of its successful veteran status to ensure that there is at least a favorable UK balance of payments in their food sector to compensate for the huge deficit in the overall food market. But the frozen products for export to the rest of Europe will have to be specially developed, which could be costly unless the salesmen are able to find volume opportunities.

In the past 12 months or so there has been a very rapid movement into the UK of German, French and Danish discount store operators -- Aldi, Netto, Mr. Ed, etc. The British retailers have been rather slow to develop their own discount versions, with the exception of Kwik-Save which has existed for many years and is now beginning to move out of its Northern England base into Scotland and the South of England. Kwik-Save is ranked among the top six food retailers nationwide, following Sainsbury, Tesco, Safeway, Asda and the Cooperative Group. The squeeze is on the independents, whether they are affiliated with buying groups or not.

The latest development, or attempted incursion, is from the USA-style warehouse clubs. The top three superstore operators are trying to get a court ruling declaring that this type of outlet should be classified as being retail rather than wholesale. It is noticeable that the "discounters" do feature frozen foods in their plans, and the UK operators of this retail sector do also very much concentrate on well known brand names. So there is every reason for the British frozen food and ice cream sectors to continue to produce attractive new items with accents on quality or convenience, and ideally on both.

Not to overlook the absolutely vital need to publicize the brands if they are to stand a chance against the "advantaged" store labels. Birds Eye, after several years of building useful sub-brands such as Country Club for vegetables, and more recently Fish Cuisine and Steakhouse with Menumaster and Healthy Options for a very wide range of meals, has decided to re-feature the Birds Eye label in a major poster campaign. This comes alongside an equally major campaign for its Wall's ice cream brand using the theme, "The Art of Making Ice Cream." The message is obviously directed at newcomers to the UK ice cream industry such as Mars and Nestle.

Ross Young's plan is to feature its McVitie brand on a range of frozen desserts to compete with Sara Lee. Findus and McCain appear to be keen to fight it out in the slowly increasing pizza sector.

Meanwhile, we will have to wait until the year-end results begin to appear before it is known to what degree the "variable climates" of the summer months have affected sales and profits.

Program for 1993 Tecnoconserve Has Plenty of (Tecno) Meat to It

Tecnomeat will star as an added attraction to Tecnoconserve, the Italian food processing equipment exhibition scheduled for Oct. 18-23 at the Fiere di Parma industrial fairgrounds in Parma.

Italy's meat processing industry is fragmented among a large number of small and medium-sized companies, which are, however, concentrated in a few regions of the country, particularly Emilia, and Tecnomeat can reach the greatest number of potential business contacts for that industry. In addition, Tecnoserve is expanding its sections devoted to fish and pasta processing.

Tecnoconserve always draws a good cross section of the industry. For 1991, the turnout of 2,830 foreign visitors included 26% managing directors, 22.1% technological experts, 19.8% other managerial personnel, 18.1% owners of companies and 14% production managers. Some 66.2% came from European countries, 12.6% from nations of Latin America, 12% from the United States and 7.4% from Africa.
COPYRIGHT 1993 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:News From Europe; frozen foods market
Author:Webb, Kenneth J.B.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Another acquisition by Brake Bros. turns the focus on to UK merger scene.
Next Article:American-style packs rise in Europe; will sun shine on breakfast pizza?

Related Articles
Denmark's hardy appetite for frozen food makes it no. 1 in consumption and output.
With ice cream in starring role, frozen foods abundant at ANUGA.
Hungary's retail frozen food scene crowded with local packs, Eurobrands.
Plenty of choice for Dutch shoppers sharpens competition in QFF sector.
Frozen food forum.
European QFF market still growing, despite continent-wide recession.
Even in grip of a stubborn recession, German QFF sector keeps posting gains.
European frozen food market closing on 8.5 million tons.
Frozen Food Sales up 2.8% in Europe; Value Added Products Lead the Way.
Frozen hot snacks: insulator against inflation.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters