The frozen food industry has enlisted some powerful help in its efforts to spread the message of quality.

Big names from the world of TV cookery are appearing on boxes in the freezer cabinet and are giving their stamp of approval to taste, ingredients and nutrition.

And the strategy is working.

"The message is getting through that frozen is often fresher than chilled, with celebrity chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal championing the benefits of frozen," says Anne Murphy, general manager of Birds Eye UK and deputy chair of the Food and Drink Federation's frozen food group.

"Manufacturers such as Tryton have seen the benefit of high-profile celebrities endorsing certain frozen products: sales of its Aunt Bessie's Frozen Mashed Potatoes more than trebled thanks to the Delia stamp of approval."

At Findus, the celebrity chef on the box and behind the recipes is Jean-Christophe Novelli. Findus UK managing director Vidar Engen feels that Novelli's involvement produces a more flavoursome product and underscores the use of real ingredients.

"The Novelli range has real red wine and real cheese and real everything else," Engen says. This helps counter the historic perception that frozen food is lower quality than the chilled or fresh equivalent.

However, positive perceptions have been undermined by one of the very people who is supposed to be helping the cause.

Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White was surprisingly frank when discussing the soups bearing his name. "I'm not pretending I'm the creator of these soups," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Anyone believing that is a fool. I cook Michelin-starred food - that's my talent. The man sweating behind the soup vats in a factory somewhere is Simon Gamble: he's the real genius."

White feels there is a hypocrisy about chefs who put their name to a product that is not their creation or, perhaps, not even to their taste.

"Honesty is really important. Otherwise it's just a slap-on label."