Frozen food has a new weapon in its promotional arsenal - the environment.

As environmentalists try to highlight the detrimental impact of food waste, frozen food should be perfectly placed to promote its waste-saving potential. An average family, of two adults and one to two children, wastes 519g of food a week when cooking from fresh. With frozen it is only 328g, according to research commissioned by the BFFF and carried out by the Manchester Food Research Centre.

Cooking from frozen was also 33.1% less expensive on average than cooking from fresh. The BFFF acknowledges that previous attempts to convey the scale of food waste to consumers haven't had much impact. It has joined forces with celebrity chef Aldo Zilli to promote these findings, with media events to persuade consumers of the quality and benefits of frozen. And therein lies the problem.

"£17bn worth of food is consumed from the freezer, but only 5% of this is store-purchased," according to Findus and Young's managing director Mark Escolme. "People buy chilled and then freeze it themselves."

It seems consumers are confident eating frozen, but when buying they believe fresh will be better quality. "Supermarkets have a responsibility to change the way people think and to be honest about the fact that foods such as ready meals is often defrosted and sold as 'chilled', which is misleading," says Patrick Limpus, founder of start-up Sauce Kitchen.

"Retailers need to own up to the fact consumers are paying for meals to be defrosted and the label 'not suitable for home freezing' commonly means they have been frozen already."

He adds that many consumers are not aware chilled foods are often filled with gums, thickeners, stabilisers and artificial preservatives to look appealing on-shelf. Escolme, however, believes consumer willingness to home-freeze is a good thing.

"This shows a huge potential for growing the frozen category so people buy frozen and freeze. The UK market should be three times bigger than it is."

Focus On Frozen Food