As an office full of frozen food advocates and specialist food communications experts, it was with little surprise that we read this weekend’s Daily Telegraph article suggesting that sales of ‘posh’ frozen food are soaring in the UK.
The article puts this rise down to middle class families looking for easy ways to impress at dinner parties and turning to frozen prepared food in ways they would never have previously dreamed of.
Having seen the frozen food market develop at close quarters over the last fifteen years or so, for us this represents the culmination of a lot of hard work across the industry to reposition the frozen brand.
The article suggests that 15 years ago, most domestic freezers would have been stocked with turkey twizzlers and fish fingers, whereas now you’ll find ostrich steaks and soufflé amongst the prepared fruit and veg.
But the change is more than that. As little as five years ago frozen food on the table at a middle class dinner party would have been seen by some as sacrilegious but times and attitudes have changed.
So how has this happened? Well in part we can thank discounters such as Aldi and Lidl for introducing some of their more luxury products in frozen format – not least the Lidl whole Canadian lobster which flew off the shelves at just £4.99 last Christmas.
But before that the industry had invested significant marketing spend to try and dispel the myths about frozen.
Iceland’s Power of Frozen as well as Bird Eye’s IFreeze and ISave campaigns, along with work by Dr Oetker and Sainsbury’s have started to encourage trial of new frozen products along with years of work by British Frozen Food Federation to prove the case for frozen food.
So what next? Clearly there is still work to be done in challenging misconceptions of frozen and the NPD machine is going full pelt in frozen food.
It’s now our job as marketers and food communications experts to get people trying the new premium products and remind them that frozen food is not just about arctic roll and fish fingers*.
* Disclaimer: Don’t knock it till you try it, arctic roll is the future!
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