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Stop the frozen food snobbery

It may be a matter of snobbery. According to the British Frozen Food Federation’s director general, frozen foods compare favorably with fresh food in blind taste tests. In the UK and US, there is a love-hate relationship between frozen foods retailers like Iceland.

Iceland’s new marketing campaign ” Power of Frozen“, aims to change this perception.

Frozen isn’t always unhealthy. Salvomassara/Shutterstock

This is due in part to the price. Due to the lower production costs, frozen foods are cheaper at the point of sale. This can influence consumers’ perception of quality. In the US, 4 out of 5 consumers believe frozen foods are “highly processed”.

Not so in France. French consumers view frozen food as healthy, fresh, and high-quality. The strong brand of Picard is a premium retailer that accounts for one-fifth of all new frozen foods launched in France.

Who are we to disagree with the French? Their reputation for fine cuisine is in stark contrast to global beliefs regarding British food.

Freeze up

The French may be onto something. According to studies, freezing fruits and vegetables does “lock in” their beneficial nutrients.

In an experiment, fresh produce was stored at 4degC in a standard household refrigerator for up to 3 days. The fresh produce was compared to equivalent frozen products stored in a home freezer at -20degC. In the refrigerated goods, the concentrations of antioxidants as well as other nutritional components were lower than those found in frozen products.

Freezing extra food is also thought to help with portion management, which is believed to be crucial in tackling obesity. The 5 a day is also met by frozen fruit and vegetables, so it’s a good idea to keep a supply of these items.

The UK has the most food waste of any country in the European Union. Each household throws away 6kg (13lb) of food every week. In 2012, throwing away food that could have been eaten cost every household PS470 ($679). The adoption of frozen food will likely reduce food waste, and allow us to make better use of season foods which are not in season. It will also save money.

Choose and select

Freezing is not appropriate for every food. freezes to create ice crystals. Ice crystals grow larger the more water is present in the food. The larger the ice cylces, the greater the damage to food structure and quality that freezing can cause. Many vegetables, such as mushrooms, cucumbers and lettuce leaves do not freeze well due to the high water content.

There are alternatives to this. You can use cooking, pulping, or even change the way that you use your foods. Meat, fish, sweetcorn, peas and even spices respond well to being frozen in their natural form.

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Jane S. King

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