Innovator: loose frozen produce from Field Fare

Field Fare freezers

As retailers focus on fresher, healthier lines in-store, an innovative ‘loose frozen’ veg and fruit solution could be a great way to another point of difference and a healthier option for consumers.

As the marketplace gets ever tougher for Scotland’s local retailers who are looking for new points of difference to bring customers through the door and as shopper trends continue to shift towards healthier, more convenient foods, a great solution from a company called Field Fare might be just the ticket for at least some retailers: loose frozen veg.

Customers simply help themselves to scoops full of frozen, loose vegetables (and fruit) taking as much or as little as they like from branded freezers. No packaging or food waste, no additives or preservatives and, on average, costing 30% cheaper than a fresh equivalent.

The idea itself isn’t new; Field Fare began 40 years ago but has until recently been concentrating primarily on garden centres, farm shops, delis and butchers.

“The one thing we have always focused on, however, has been on working with independent retail businesses”, MD Karen Deans tells SLR. “Minimum packaging and waste, maximum nutrient, vitamin and mineral lock-in, dramatically reduced transport costs with the flexibility for customers to economically take as little or as much as required.”

CV: Field Fare

What is it?
It’s frozen, loose produce

Is it a new idea?
It’s new to convenience retailing, but Field Fare have been selling to other independent retailers like garden centres and delis for over 40 years.

What’s the range like?
There are over 80 products in the frozen, loose produce range.

Do they sell anything else?
Yes – the total range is over 150 products, all frozen, and includes ready meals, pies, pastries and sundries.

Who are they supplying?
The customer base extends to over 400 independent retail outlets from Stornoway to Cornwall.

Is it expensive?
No – Field Fare say its typically 30% cheaper than the fresh equivalent.

What’s the minimum drop?
25 cases, made up from any of the 150+ range.

How much space do I need?
Ideally, room for two (branded) chest freezers.

Do I need anything else?
A set of scales.

Where do I find out more?

The company’s loose range now stands at over 80 products – from sweet potato chips to cinnamon swirls – and is stocked in over 400 independent businesses across the UK, including new clients in Stornoway and Dornoch.

It also helps that, according to Harris Interactive data from April this year, some 60% of consumers now consider frozen to be “as good as fresh”.

The idea isn’t suitable for all; retailers really need to have the room for two chest freezers to offer the breadth of range required to meet shoppers’ needs and to meet the minimum drop requirement, 25 cases per order.

There is no minimum order frequency however and retailers can add products from the rest of Field Fare’s offering to meet the drop requirement; that’s everything from a ready meal range to selection of pies, sweet and savoury pastries and more.

What’s more, the company also supports a charity that redistributes surplus food to 20 UK-wide regional centres and on to partner charities.