Frozen foods are an increasingly popular choice in the preparation of menu items, according to recently surveyed restaurant operators, reports the American Frozen Foods Institute (AFFI) this week.
The survey was conducted in February 2002 among members of the US National Restaurant Association.
"The results of this survey demonstrate foodservice operators' growing appreciation for frozen foods, particularly because they offer year-round availability, enhanced labour savings, and ease of preparation, without sacrificing quality," said Leslie G. Sarasin, AFFI's president and chief executive officer.
The survey used data from nearly 200 foodservice operators from restaurants of varying size and type and it found that the top three reasons given for use of frozen foods were year-round availability, product consistency, and saving time in preparation.
Within the next five years, 95 per cent of operators said they expect to use 'more' or the 'same' amount of frozen foods in their restaurant. Only four per cent said 'less.'
More than half of ocean fish and shellfish products are purchased frozen. One-third of pies are purchased frozen. Nearly 70 per cent of operators agreed that using frozen foods provides labour cost savings. Seven out of 10 operators agreed with the statement, 'In the next decade, frozen food technology will advance to such a degree that it will be difficult to distinguish between frozen and non-frozen after preparation. " In the US, the survey clearly shows that growth in this segment of the food industry looks far from frozen.