Batch Cook And Use Low Energy Appliances Like Microwaves, Iceland Boss Says

The supermarket boss gave advice to those worried about soaring energy bills.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods.
John Nguyen via PA Wire/PA Images

Iceland boss Richard Walker has advised people worried about rising bills to use low energy appliances such as microwaves.

The supermarket chain is launching an initiative called “Shop Smart, Cook Savvy” to help families better understand the cost of cooking amid rising bills.

The managing director said families could save up to £600 a year by using microwaves or slow cookers.

His comments were in stark contrast to a government minister who said they would not be telling families to turn off appliances to save money or prevent blackouts.

Walker told LBC: “We’ve looked at ways that people can cook savvier. We’ve done some research and there’s savings of over £600 every year for the average family if they just use low energy appliances, things like air fryers...microwaves, slow cookers, things like that.

“So there’s an awful lot of different ways and that can be lower energy use appliances, but also it can be batch cooking.

“And then of course you’ve got simply buying frozen. I know I would say this, but that is a way to save money.”

Asked what impact the cost of energy was having on Iceland, he replied: “It’s definitely something we need to talk about because whilst rightly there’s been a lot of focus on consumers struggling with energy bills, actually business is crippled by it. We will be okay, we’re a £4 billion turnover business. We’ve got cash reserves, but our operational energy increases are going through the roof.

“We’ve got a lot of fridges and freezers, we’ve got 1,000 stores. Last year, our energy bill was £60 million, but this year it will be many times more and it’s exceptionally difficult to to manage.

“I dread to think the smaller to medium sized businesses, who are maybe not as financially robust, just how much they’re struggling.

“The government urgently needs to help business as well because ultimately it will translate through to bankruptcies, job losses and higher prices at the shelf as well.”

Chloe Smith, minister for disabled people, suggested that the government would not be offering advice to the public on how to get through the coming months as costs rise and inflation surges.

Appearing on LBC, she was pressed on suggestions about batch cooking and offered the example of debates in Germany over speed limits on motorways.

“I don’t think you’ll find the government giving out tips of that kind,” she said.

“I think the government will be looking in terms of the broader policy that would be appropriate for a government to look at.”

Smith also swerved questions over freezing the energy price cap, suggesting they were “short term solutions only”.

This is despite a number of energy firms calling for a bills freeze this winter as the price cap is set to soar.

Ofgem will announce the next increase to its energy price cap this Friday, with analysts expecting it to soar to £3,554 in October.

Some expect they will top £5,300 annually in April next year, a massive increase from previous predictions.


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