Frozen vs Surgelés: France and the UK, comparing nations (and markets)

Fiera Milano, Rho


Frozen vs Surgelés: France and the UK, comparing nations (and markets)

The frozen segment is going through real change and requires a fresh approach, even on traditional markets. An ICE webinar in collaboration with UNAS and TUTTOFOOD sheds some light on the subject.

While the Made in Italy looks increasingly to markets across all continents, it is also true that the big numbers are often secured closer to home. France and the UK are both important destinations for the Italian agro-food industry and particularly for the fast growing Frozen sector. Although both have been badly hit by COVID-19, each is dealing with a different situation right now. While one is ready to officially leave the European common market on 31 December, the other is working on an ambitious plan to reform a traditionally interventionist economy.


In a scenario of such rapid change, how can Italian players in the frozen supply chain find their way? Support is offered by ITA – ICE Agenzia, UNAS and TUTTOFOOD, which have joined forces for a webinar that will compare the two markets, set to take place on Tuesday 8 September at 2.30pm. The session will see the participation of Anna Flavia Pascarelli - Manager of the Agro-food and Wines Office, ICE Rome; Renato Bonaglia – President of UNAS-Surgelati; Ferdinando Pastore – Director of ICE London; Antonietta Kelly - Agro-Food Sector Trade Analyst, ICE London; Giovanni Sacchi – Director of ICE Paris; Déborah Clarin - Agro-Food Sector Trade Analyst, ICE Paris and Paola Sarco - Exhibition Manager TUTTOFOOD.


But what numbers are we talking about? In the UK,60% of agro-food products are imported and, of these, 75% come from the EU, but only 6% from Italy (which is the ninth commercial partner), so there is significant room for growth. According to data from the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), the 2019 British frozen food market was worth 8.6 billion pounds with year on year growth of 4.4% and is the quickest growing product sector.



As for France, according to sector association Syndigel, the market was worth 9 billion Euro in 2019, with 2 million tons of produce sold, a penetration equating to 98.6% of families, and an average annual per person spend of 223 Euro. In France, the agro-food industry is worth 178 billion Euro per year, which represents 20% of the entire turnover in the manufacturing sector. A strong exporter and less of an importer than the UK, France has nevertheless been one of the countries that most appreciates Italian agro-food products.



“The collaboration between ICE, UNAS and TUTTOFOOD, which is solidified with this webinar, represents an example of the real innovation that both our association and the Frozen sector as a whole is experiencing", comments Renato Bonaglia, President of UNAS trade association. "For many consumers, the need to buy more long-lasting products during the lockdown provided an opportunity to ‘rediscover’ the quality of frozen foods, which meet new consumption needs such as naturalness and wholesomeness. Many have only now ‘discovered’ that the industrial freezing process, unlike domestic freezing, does not alter the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the product and does not require the use of preservatives, for example”.



“UNAS is strengthening its mission to protect and promote SMEs in the food industry – continues Bonaglia – demonstrating once again our appreciation of the needs of these firms, such an important part of the agro-food sector. The firms that join UnionAlimentari and operate in the Frozen segment can always count on a specific Group that, as well as giving them a precise identity, also takes care of their particular needs, as this mutual initiative confirms”.