Good Food – Always
At the heart of the Iceland brand range is frozen food. Our “Because It’s Frozen” wheel demonstrates the eight key advantages that frozen food can offer consumers and the environment:
Quality. Freezing is Nature’s pause button: an entirely natural process that allows us to capture products in their peak condition as soon as they are picked, caught or made. Freezing locks in the nutrients which produce begins to lose when it is harvested. Academic studies have demonstrated that frozen fruit and vegetables typically contain more vitamins and anti-oxidants than “fresh” ones that have spent days in the supply chain. Frozen fish really is fresher than “fresh” fish that has either spent days making its way to the supermarket or, more typically, has been frozen at sea and then defrosted for sale as “fresh” at a premium price. Rapid commercial blast freezing produces a vastly superior result to anything consumers can achieve by freezing fresh products at home, hence the much longer shelf life it can offer.
Taste. Freezing locks in flavour, and we have proven in blind taste tests over many years that very people few can detect any difference in eating quality between fresh and frozen food right across our product range.
Choice. We can offer food from all round the world without the high environmental costs involved in, for example, airfreighting fresh produce. We can offer seasonal food all year round, and a truly amazing range encompassing everything from kale, asparagus, couscous, quinoa and bulgur wheat to ostrich, lobster, cod loins, sea bass and Dover sole.
Provenance. Because it’s frozen, we can give our customers food from authentic, trusted sources – for example, the genuine Italian pizzas made for us by a family business in the foothills of the Dolomites, using real mozzarella cheese and other authentic local ingredients. We can also provide a full range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, harvested when they are at their best and most abundant, all year round.
Convenience. Frozen food is always available and easy to prepare with no washing, peeling or chopping involved. No waste, no mess, no fuss.
Less waste. Frozen food is intrinsically less wasteful than fresh food because it has a much longer shelf life. This minimises waste in our stores and supply chain, and in our customers’ homes. Consumers also cut waste because they can use just as much as they need for each meal, and put the rest of the pack back in the freezer for another occasion. Because frozen vegetables are usually peeled, chopped or diced ready for use, we can avoid the waste caused by the quest for perfect-looking vegetables in fresh displays.
Health. Frozen food is every bit as good for you as fresh food. What’s more, freezing minimises the need for artificial preservatives and other additives used to prolong the shelf life of “fresh” products. Back in the late 1990s, we ran a joint promotion with the Cancer Research Campaign specifically to promote the health benefits to children of eating more frozen vegetables. Freezing has also been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of food poisoning from campylobacter in chicken.
Value. Frozen food is intrinsically cheaper to produce than fresh food because everything can be frozen when it is most abundant, production runs are long and efficient, and waste is reduced. All these economies are shared with the consumer.
We are very proud that, as long ago as 1986, Iceland became the first UK supermarket to remove artificial colours, flavourings and non-essential preservatives from our own brand products – 19 years before Marks & Spencer. Also in 1986, Iceland became the first UK supermarket to remove monosodium glutamate (MSG) from our own brand products. We banned mechanically recovered meat from all Iceland brand products in 1990, and in 1998 we became the first national food retailer anywhere in the world to ban genetically modified ingredients from all our own brand products: a commitment which every other major UK food retailer then followed. We removed artificial trans fats from all Iceland brand products in 2006.
Iceland will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in all its own brand food by the end of 2018. The ethical decision to remove palm oil has been made in order to demonstrate to the food industry that it is possible to reduce the demand for palm oil while seeking solutions that do not destroy the world’s rainforest. Alternative ingredients will vary depending on individual product requirements, meaning that there will be a mix of oils and fats involved. These will include sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and butter.
Quality and value
The benchmark for every Iceland brand product is simple: it must offer better quality than the equivalent line sold by our major British supermarket competitors, at the same price, or comparable quality at a significantly lower price. Our benchmarking teams regularly assess products according to a range of criteria to ensure that our high standards are being maintained.
All Iceland brand products are sourced from approved suppliers at approved sites. All our suppliers must be certified to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety; they are regularly audited by independent inspectors against this standard and required to achieve Grade AA, A or B. Since January 2016 this BRC audit has been unannounced. Sites are also approved by our team of product technologists, who have a passionate concern for food quality and safety.
Additionally, Iceland has a set of Technical Policies with which all our own brand suppliers must comply.
The importance we attach to constant innovation has helped us to build close, long term relationships with a range of specialist supplier partners who work with us at the cutting edge of new product development. Our own technologists supervise the first production run of any new product; our quality assurance team also check products against our specification when they are delivered to our depots, and undertake assessments of their performance in our own Iceland Kitchen.
Honesty and clarity
All Iceland own brand products are clearly labelled with a full list of our ingredients, and information on the product’s nutritional value.
We encourage healthy eating and provide full nutrition information panels to help our customers plan their diet each day. Where possible, we also label our fruit and vegetables with a ‘5 A Day’ logo, to remind our customers of the importance of consuming these as part of a healthy diet, and aim to provide an at-a-glance guide to the number of portions contained in each pack. We gave our full support to the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal on Fruit and Vegetables in November 2012, designed to help people consume their ‘5 A Day’, and pledged to offer coupon deals on fruit and vegetables, increase their promotion to our customers using new website and social media features, and to introduce new fruit and vegetable products.
Full allergy information is clearly highlighted in bold and underlined text on all Iceland own brand packs.