Footprint Blog

Frozen food maybe be cheap but is it green?

Posted in Comment,Economics,Food Trends by foodservicefootprint on July 14, 2009

Frozen food

Footprint has received a press release claiming that ‘New research has confirmed that frozen food could save the foodservice industry millions of pounds a year.’ 

Commissioned by The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and conducted by the Manchester Food Research Centre (MFRC), a new ‘Cost Comparison’ study concluded it was more cost effective for foodservice establishments to buy in prepared frozen alternatives, rather than manufacturing identical dishes on site.  

In nearly all cases during the research, dishes made to a duplicate recipe from scratch cost more than 24% more than their frozen counterparts. This rose to 66% with more labour intensive dishes which involved a high skill level. 

Brian Young, director general of the BFFF commented: “We have long known that frozen offers a better value option for the caterer. We now have independent research to statistically support this belief.” Young added: “In this tough economic climate there is a compelling business case for using frozen food. Buying frozen will save money because of competitive and stable food prices, the ability to control portion sizes and wastage, plus the opportunity to cut kitchen labour costs. This will help businesses reduce their overheads, produce more accurate pricing models and protect their profits.” 

The release goes on to state that.. 

Cost sets were based on the running of a small public house or restaurant offering reasonably priced and unpretentious meals manufactured on a daily basis to the general public. 

  1. Raw materials costs: Food costs were based on a combination of both supermarket and wholesale prices. Raw material costs were based on one portion.
  2. Energy costs: Energy costs comprised of cooking time on the hob / in the oven – calculated as electricity or gas per minute. Storage costs were negligible as chilled and frozen ingredients would have little to no storage time to minimise stock carrying levels.
  3. Wastage costs: Wastage costs included raw material wastage, comprising all trimmings and peelings (which were weighed)
  4. Washing and cleaning costs: These comprised of water used in food preparation, washing up and cleaning, plus the cost of detergents and sanitisers.
  5. Staff costs: It was anticipated that a kitchen was manned by a chef and a kitchen assistant. Wage costs were evaluated on current industry wage offerings for the hospitality sector. It was calculated that whilst staff were preparing one portion, they would plate up approximately eleven other portions, therefore staff costs were divided by twelve per dish served.

 No mention of the costs of new hardware, space implications, use of microwaves for defrosting, CFCs or ozone then…..

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