This paper is a review of Bangladeshi Frozen Food Business. Frozen Foods in Bangladesh encompass from fishes to ready-to-cook foods. However, fishes and shrimps are exported and generate foreign exchanges for Bangladesh, whereas, the semi-processed foods are imported and produced locally. Indeed, it is a potential business where rural people can be benefited by investing little amount of money, and producing and meeting the emergence demand in the market. This paper additionally concerns on the constraints of business such as lack of properly trained people, stiff competition for the home made processed foods. Therefore, this paper identifies new scope for the growth and development of this segment. Since this segment has got little concerns, we hope that this paper would meet the requirements for the development of the frozen food business and aid the base for further research on this segment.
Though Bangladesh is an agricultural based country, its aquaculture is developing and contributing to the export of the country. In fact, the frozen food is one of largest contributor to the foreign exchange earnings and occupies fourth position among the export items in terms of total export earnings (Bureau of Statistics, 2004). In Bangladesh, frozen food includes shrimp and fish, and shrimp contributes to the majority of earnings from the frozen food. However, in recent years, the frozen food business has become diversified, and traditional thinking about it has also changed. In Bangladesh, it has been developing based on the fishery along with processed meat and chicken. Indeed, in Bangladesh, new trend in the frozen food business is emerging in silence, which is semi or fully prepared food in retail outlets. But unfortunately, there is not much research work on this segment of frozen food business done, which is developing and growing a new innovative concept in the vacuum space of frozen food business. In fact, this development and its policy implications have received little attention in the literature on export-led industrialization in developing countries (Athukorala & Sen, 1996). Therefore, for our research work, we are focusing on processed frozen food found in the retail outlets, and hope that this work would help for the further development of this segment in frozen food business in Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, fishes, shrimps and prawns are exported as frozen food to various parts of the world. The frozen seafood sector is booming by exporting. Earnings from this area are increasing and have the potential to increase more. The value of these exports in 1996-97 was US$342.26 millions (Bureau of Statistics, 1997). However, the shrimp belt of Bangladesh is always the subject of debates on law, order, safety and production process and food quality and environmental issues. As such, in 1997, the European Union (EU) imposed a ban on Bangladesh’s frozen food exports after an EU inspection team report condemned shrimp processing plants in Khulna and Chittagong for their failure to comply with EU quality control regulations (http://www.ifpri.org).
However, the agenda of concern is with the semi or fully prepared frozen food that is an emerging market in Bangladesh. These food items have been commercialized recently under company labels like Bombay Sweets, Rich and Aftab. In addition, there are other concerns that supply with this type of frozen food and they are called homemade items. The range of frozen food can contain prepared or semi-prepared food like parathas, pizza, franks, samucha, chops, shami kabab, puri, nuggets, and many more exquisite delicacies. The increasing demand for these types of products has given rise to domestic production of these food items, whereas, a couple of years back everything was imported (Personal Interview, Nandon).
Origin of the Study
Basically frozen food can be a processed or semi-processed food that is kept in freezer to preserve it for later use. However...