The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has hosted an exclusive ‘Meet the Buyer’ virtual event with Marks & Spencer after it made significant investments in its frozen point of sale collateral.
The event in May, which was designed to help the retailer develop its frozen food range, was hosted online to ensure a safe experience for everyone involved and allow suppliers from all over the country to attend.
Richard Harrow, BFFF chief executive, said: “M&S has a clear ambition to grow its range of frozen food with additional space in-store – even before the pandemic hit, it identified frozen as one of the top 10 trends of 2020.
“The ‘Meet the Buyer’ event gave M&S the opportunity to connect with frozen food manufacturers. We’ve had great feedback from the M&S team and found it a mutually beneficial experience, having learnt a lot about how the retailer conducts its selection process, which can support members for future events.”
Steven Brookes, senior buyer for M&S, added: “M&S is focused on growing its frozen food ranges and making it easier for customers to shop bigger baskets by offering convenience for busy families. Working with the BFFF and its members has helped us to find new suppliers for our frozen range expansion, broadening choice for customers whilst still offering the M&S great quality and trusted value they know and love.”
One member who attended the event added: “The whole process was fantastic. The event was a great way to put potential suppliers and customers together in a way that fits the current situation. Having a dedicated time window allowed us to deliver a pitch that ensured the customer could get to know the real USP’s of our product.”
Another attendee said: “I found the M&S Meet the Buyer event to be very straightforward and a fantastic way to give suppliers and buyers the opportunity to meet virtually and quickly assess any areas of interest for future development.
“As a result of a small amount of preparation and a brief and friendly on-line meeting, we are now in the process of arranging follow-up meetings to explore how and where we can take things forward.”
After the success of the first Meet the Buyer event, the BFFF is now looking to work with more retailers to help them create a broader frozen food offering.