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News16 February 2023

New research project provides low income families with access to freezers as cost of living soars

  • Clarion Housing Group, Iceland Foods, Birds Eye and Currys are working together on a new project aimed at providing low income families with freezers, recipes, support and tips to explore the impact of access to frozen food on their finances and eating habits.
  • The pilot project will be evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University, and the findings will be published in a white paper.
  • If successful, the scheme could be replicated in communities across the UK.

Clarion Housing Group is teaming up with Iceland Foods, Birds Eye and Currys to help low income families access the benefits of frozen food. This new partnership follows the publication of research from Manchester Metropolitan University showing that families switching from fresh to frozen food halve their food waste and reduce their household grocery bill by almost a quarter.

It’s estimated that one in 10 UK households are living without a freezer, meaning frozen food is currently inaccessible to them*. Launched this month, the pilot scheme will provide low income families with freezers, as well as information, recipes and support, to explore the impact on their household finances and eating habits.

Participating households have been identified by Clarion through its charitable foundation, Clarion Futures, which engages with residents to provide financial guidance and support.

The packages of support offered to participating households have been developed by Clarion through focus groups with some of its residents to help ensure that the needs of low income families are met.

Some will receive face-to-face support comprising access to recipe cards as well as cooking classes and help with budgeting and others will be able to access an online version of this support package.

Freezers will be donated by Currys in consultation with each household to identify the best solution for them based on their needs, available space and energy use, helping to mitigate the impact of energy price rises.

The project will be evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University as the academic partner, and families will be supported to better access and use frozen food in the hope that it will lead to the adoption of a more affordable and healthy diet.

Bringing together the expertise of frozen food specialists and the social housing sector, this innovative project will generate learnings replicable across other communities in the UK. These learnings and a call to action will be shared with UK policymakers, social landlords, local authorities, retailers and charities in a white paper.

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said:

“Low income households, including many of those living in social housing, are at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis and we take our responsibility to help incredibly seriously. Like many, however, we’re running out of options, with household budgets pushed to breaking point. This makes our partnership with Iceland, Birds Eye, Currys and Manchester Met even more important, and we’re looking forward to working together.”

Richard Walker, Executive Chairman of Iceland Foods, said:

“The cost-of-living crisis is a concern households across the UK and we know many people will be looking for ways to lower the cost of their food shop. This unique community project will help families with barriers to freezer ownership, and we hope that we will find that families can save money and improve their diets when they are able to access and use freezers and frozen food.”

Steve Challouma, General Manager of Birds Eye added:

“Birds Eye is committed to serving the world with better food, and this ambition applies to all communities within the UK. Frozen food delivers many benefits, including great taste, convenience, locked-in goodness, year-round accessibility, and reduced in-home food waste. We know that in times of financial stress households turn to frozen food more than ever, and that this is due in part to these valuable benefits. By making healthy options more convenient, and by reducing food waste, we hope that this project succeeds in helping participating families and households adopt healthier and more affordable eating habits.”

*Turn2us. Living Without.

30 households will be participating in this pilot, four of which will be based in Salford receiving face-to-face support.