The shadow of the horsemeat scandal still lingers two years on – a sign of the lasting effects of food fraud and adultery on the public’s opinion and ultimately, sales of frozen products. New research undertaken on behalf of The Grocer has confirmed that one in three Brits believes frozen food to be inferior to fresh food. According to the research findings, 17% of those questioned give the 2013 horsemeat scandal as the primary reason for their mistrust of frozen products.
Frozen vs Fresh
When it comes to putting consumers off frozen meat and frozen foods in general, a high proportion of the blame can be attributed to the 2013 horsemeat saga. Other reasons given for snubbing frozen products for their fresher counterparts include quality concerns and labelling issues. In total, 60% of the 2,000 people polled agreed with the statement “Frozen food is about on a par with fresh food,” with 32% saying it was worse. When asked why frozen food was worse, 57% said they believed it to be of a lesser quality, while 33% said they simply prefer cooking from scratch. A total of 7% cited unclear labelling as the reason for avoiding the freezers in the supermarket. Variety was also found to be an issue; 10% claimed there wasn’t a great choice of frozen products available to them while 12% of those surveyed said the foods they like to eat weren’t available frozen.
Locating the Snobbery Surrounding Frozen Produce
The research shows that consumers in the South West and London are most likely to turn their noses up at frozen food and opt for fresh. Of those polled, 40% and 37% respectively agreed with the statement “frozen food is not for people like me,” while only 22% of people in Wales agreed. Worryingly, when asked if they could be encouraged to buy more frozen food, 43% said there is nothing which would sway them to purchase frozen produce. When did it become normal to snub the frozen aisles?
Changing Negative Perceptions
It’s not all doom and gloom for the frozen sector, as 70% of those questioned agreed with the statement “frozen food is for me and my family.” Yet there does seem to be a growing prejudice with 5% of people saying frozen food is old fashioned and another 5% admitting that they believe it to be cheap and embarrassing to serve up in the home. Frozen food brands need to overcome these negative perceptions with the research suggesting consumers want a wider range of products to choose from. Areas identified for development to help persuade more shoppers to buy more frozen products included a focus on complicated puddings which are difficult to make from scratch and specific ready meals such as gluten free and vegan.