Commissioned by The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) and conducted by the Manchester Food Research Centre (MFRC), a new ‘Cost Comparison’ study concluded that 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.
Colin Rodgers, technical project manager at the Manchester Food Research Unit, said: “On the whole, the study considered it was more cost-effective to buy ready-made frozen alternatives than manufacturing the food fresh from scratch, particularly the more labour-intensive dishes which involve a high skill level at a considerable cost.”
Brian Young, director general of the BFFF, said: “We have long known that frozen offers a better value option for the caterer. We now have independent research to statistically support this belief.”
The Cost Comparison study investigated the overall cost of making frozen vs ‘fresh’ dishes commonly served within pubs, restaurants and hotels. It compared six dishes: two starters (canapés and breaded camembert), two main courses (lamb shank and salmon en croute), and two desserts (strawberry cheesecake and profiteroles).
Each frozen and ‘fresh’ dish was made to exactly the same recipe and specification. Cost implications were then calculated taking into consideration:
Research results for each specific dish highlighted that:
eaded camembert frozen vs ‘fresh’ dish costs were negligible (the researchers noted that the frozen dish cheese had been specifically manufactured to a unique size, which could have prompted increased ingredient costs).
Young added: “In this tough economic climate, there’s 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 research forms part of a BFFF foodservice campaign that aims to educate the foodservice sector on how they can profit from using frozen food in the face of a UK recession.
To run over two years, the ‘Profiting from Frozen Food’ campaign will focus on how buying frozen food will save foodservice organisations money, plus demonstrate that the quality and taste of frozen foods is better than ever. A number of activities are planned as part of the Profiting from Frozen Food campaign.
Aside from the Cost Comparison study, they will include food quality research, a frozen food report, food tastings, cookery demonstrations, direct mailings, plus speaker slots at conferences and seminars.
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