John Hyman, chief executive of British Frozen Food Federation discusses 2016.
“The big story of 2016 has been the result of the EU referendum. The markets were disrupted in the lead up to the vote on 23rd June, and saw immediate effects of the result as the Pound fell to its lowest value since 1985.
“The Pound’s sharp fall in value against other currencies – mainly the Euro and US Dollar – has already affected input costs and in turn caused inflation.
“The Bank of England has predicted inflation rates will reach 4% by 2017 and it would be naïve to think that some of the rise will not come from the food sector as retailers may pass these increased input costs on to consumers in order to maintain their margins.
“With a date still not confirmed for the triggering of Article 50, uncertainty and volatility in the markets is likely to continue until a structured plan for leaving the EU is announced by the Government.
“Looking ahead to 2017, Brexit will continue to cause uncertainty with the causes of inflation playing a major role in how businesses move forward, but it remains to be seen whether this will be a long or short term effect of the UK leaving the EU.”
Frozen Food Report
“Focusing on the frozen food sector, this year BFFF published the second edition of its Frozen Food Report which predicted strong growth for the frozen food industry over the next five years, with the retail and foodservice sectors expected to grow 1-2% and 3-4% respectively.
“Since the publication of the first report back in 2010, over £600m has been added in value to the frozen food sector.
“The report also highlighted that growth in the frozen food sector will mainly be driven by the rise in popularity of online grocery shopping, which will continue to level the playing field for frozen, with consumers having no physical constraints in terms of shelf space.”