Nigel Broadhurst, chairman of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and joint managing director of Iceland Foods has highlighted the role of frozen food in reducing the carbon footprint of the food supply chain.
Addressing 900 business leaders at the Federation’s Annual Luncheon in London, Broadhurst harnessed the run-up to the general election to launch his own manifesto for the frozen food industry.
Broadhurst praised the industry’s environmental credentials for reducing food waste, its nutritional quality and its ability to save consumers money, world class production standards, and its role in generating skilled jobs throughout the supply chain.
“Our environmental credentials are first rate. We don’t fly fresh vegetables around the world every day, any necessary transport is done by much more efficient shipping routes generating much less carbon emissions, enabling us to guarantee high quality, convenient food, to be available 365 days a year.”
He also made the case for reduced food waste: “Freezing a crop such as peas, ensures the entire crop is available for sale as sometimes excess fresh crops need to be ploughed back into the field or left to rot simply because of their short life.”
“We all need a swift and decisive solution to the Brexit issue, whatever our individual political views or attitude to Brexit.”
He went on to highlight the nutritional value of frozen, saying: “Frozen food is much more nutritious than most fresh food items. We flash freeze our food, so we don’t have to use additional preservatives, maintaining freshness and integrity for much longer. Fresh produce loses vitamins during storage, but freezing vegetables uses nature’s pause button, locking in those crucial vitamins and minerals.”
He added: “So it is with great pride that I ask you to vote for frozen food and continue to collaborate together to foster an industry which delivers market leading growth, innovation that is second to none, investment in manufacturing and logistics capability and food of the safest, highest quality possible.”
Turning his attention to current political issues affecting the industry Broadhurst called for a swift end to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit whatever the outcome of the general election.
He said that the ‘black cloud’ of Brexit means important decisions about future investments are being delayed by many BFFF members. “We all need a swift and decisive solution to the Brexit issue, whatever our individual political views or attitude to Brexit.
“I’m sure we all agree that our businesses have been seriously impacted by the level of uncertainty that is hovering over the UK like a heavy black cloud and I am certain we all have examples of major decisions being held in abeyance until there is clarity on our position in relation to Europe.
“In addition to this uncertainly which is impacting currency, employment, future growth opportunities, exports and investment in capital projects, we also have Chinese swine flu creating unprecedented demand for all forms of protein, forcing unprecedented levels of inflation into protein markets. So, let’s hope that a general election result is able to draw a line under at least the Brexit issue.”
He concluded: “We are an alliance of foodservice, retail, manufacturing and trading professionals, skilled in the art of marketing, manufacturing and selling high quality frozen food products. Our industry is the fastest growing sector of the food industry with realistic sights on a combined turnover of £10bn.”