It is almost impossible to alter UK consumer perceptions of frozen food as the cheap, low quality option, according to Malcolm Walker, boss of frozen food retailer Iceland Foods.
“Frozen food has got such a bad reputation and we in the industry have done this to ourselves,” said Walker, who blamed retailers for “over-promoting” the category. “We have got to get out of the habit of promoting down to consistently low levels.”Manufacturers were also guilty of “driving volumes through factories at lower and lower levels of quality”, he said, calling on them to reinvigorate plants through investment and to boost product development.
Speaking at the first annual BFFF conference in Leicester, Walker mourned consumers’ continued disbelief that frozen food offered superior quality to chilled food as well as being affordable. “It’s impossible to change now, but I’m astonished that frozen food is perceived consistently as low quality.”
Iceland Foods, which opened 74 new stores in the past financial year and 13 so far this year, was “trying to redress the balance through innovation”.