There’s Co2 shortage gripping the UK food and drink industry, and it’s predicted to lead to shortages of not only beer and fizzy drinks, but also chilled foods such raw and cooked meats, poultry and ready meals.

Modified Atmosphere packaging (MAP) has long been used by the chilled food industry to preserve product freshness, quality and appearance. Raw red meat, for example, will quickly turn an unappealing brown colour if not packaged in an atmosphere pumped with a mixture of gases including oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

According to GlobalData’s Q4 2017 consumer survey, after convenience, UK consumers consider quality and freshness to be the key benefits of chilled foods. If the food industry cannot deliver on this as a result of the CO2 shortage there is a good chance consumers will switch to the frozen category for staple products such as meat and poultry.

Indeed, frozen food has the advantage of being perceived as more convenient and better value for money than chilled foods. If the chilled food industry cannot offer the freshness or quality consumers expect, they are highly likely to opt for frozen products due to price and convenience advantages.

Could the CO2 crisis become the turning point in a long-term shift in consumer purchasing behaviour? If consumers switch to frozen as an alternative and find the quality and freshness to be comparable to chilled foods, together with convenience and price advantages there is a chance they could continue to opt for frozen in the long term.

Indeed frozen food brands should seize the opportunity through well-timed marketing campaigns which promote freshness and quality.

Source: GlobalData’s Q4 2017 global consumer survey

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