Frozen fish

A new report has claimed that frozen food could play a “significant role” in delivering the UK’s food security targets.

The report, Frozen Food and Food Security in the UK, was produced by sustainability experts at Cranfield University on behalf of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

It concluded that by increasing frozen food consumption, the UK could reduce food waste, boost food affordability and lessen the environmental impact of food – all of which would subsequently contribute to improved food security.

Researchers compared fresh and frozen supply chains for four of the most common shopping list items – cod, carrots, broccoli and potatoes – looking at greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), consumer cost and waste production.

They identified a potential waste saving of between 25% and 79% if the entire supply chain for these four products was shifted to frozen. The frozen versions were also found to be less expensive than their fresh equivalents – with frozen Atlantic cod and broccoli florets 32% and 33% cheaper.

On an environmental front, the researchers concluded that frozen food could help tackle GHGE related to food consumption, particularly for food which is not produced in the UK year-round. By switching to frozen broccoli, for example, the UK could become 100% self-sufficient in production, reducing GHGE by 15%.

Dr Adrian Williams, principal research fellow at Cranfield University’s School of Energy, Environment and Agri-food said: “The report brings together a wealth of research which shows that there are improvements that can be made by making better use of freezing technologies in the food chain.

“This has particular benefits in reducing the impact of food waste and enabling sustainable transportation of food imported into the UK.”