Birds Eye Crispy Chunky Fish Fingers

Birds Eye passed on cost inflation to customers during the year

Birds Eye has returned to sales growth as it raised prices to offset inflation and benefitted from cash-strapped shoppers switching from fresh to frozen.

Revenues in the year ended 31 December 2022 increased 7.1% (or £49.8m) to £754.2m, following the brand registering its first decline in four years in 2021 as it struggled to keep up with pandemic highs.

Birds Eye said in the accounts filed at Companies House that it “made every effort” to mitigate soaring inflation in raw materials, energy, packaging, freight and logistics costs. However, the group also passed costs on to supermarkets and consumers through higher prices.

Pre-tax profits only fell 3.9% to £102.5m as a result.

Birds Eye added that shoppers had dealt with cost-of-living crisis by reverting to smaller, less frequent trips, reducing overall spending on groceries, moving to discounters and increasingly switching to own label.

“We are, however, well placed within the packaged frozen food sector to be resilient to these impacts as consumers seek value and ways to manage their stretched household budgets,” the company said in the accounts.

The frozen category outperformed the rest of the market in 2022 as value grew by 1.5% against a total 0.1% drop in grocery as a whole, according to the Grocer’s latest category report [Kantar 52 w/e 27 November 2022].

However, shoppers switching to discounters benefitted own label, which grew its share in frozen overall, despite a 4.8% year-on-year fall in volumes, compared with a 10.1% branded drop.