Food service operators spent £2.261b on frozen food in 2009, according to the first report into the market commissioned by the British Frozen Food Federation.
This represented 22% of the sector's total £10.1b spend on food (65% when combined with chilled), and marked a 2.4% increase in frozen purchases since 2006.
The report found that 75% of caterers appreciated that frozen food offered all-year-round availability, less wastage, a longer storage life and ease of use.
Independent research also revealed that frozen food dishes were more cost-effective, with those made from scratch costing 24% more than their frozen counterparts.
Nevertheless, 22% of purchasing decision makers in food service remained unconvinced that the quality of frozen food was as good as fresh, and 14% reckoned frozen food had less flavour.
The restaurant/QSR sector bought 48% (by value) of all frozen foods sold to the food service sector, with QSRs responsible for 86% of purchases.
The report forecast that frozen food sales to food service operators would grow by 4.2% to £2.4b by 2014, while total food purchases would increase by 8% to £10.8b.
See the full report at http://www.bfff.co.uk/sites/default/files/bfff_report_for_web.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">www.bfff.co.uk/sites/default/files/bfff_report_for_web.pdf