Over the past 5 decades, the amount of time Americans spend preparing meals has steadily declined, yet U.S. frozen foods have remained a favorable staple, forecast to reach $72.98 billion by 2024, according to a recent study by Grand View Research.
Despite the overall growth, the Nielson Global Health and Wellness report says consumers are seeking “fresh” functional foods providing benefits that reduce their risk of disease and promote health. And though frozen foods may appeal to consumers who value convenience, the Market Research US Frozen Food report states many Americans now prefer fresh, natural foods at farmer’s markets or grocery stores.
However, the U.S. frozen industries often inaccurate reputation of being nothing more than high sodium ice boxes is changing. Continually adapting packaging and products to better accommodate consumer preferences, U.S. Frozen Food Market – Statistics & Facts says the frozen food sector’s image has changed tremendously in the last 10 years touting better taste, quality and what it deems better-for-you options to meet consumer needs.
And as shopper demands shift from once believing that fresh foods were healthier and of higher quality than its frozen counterparts, Americans are discovering the nutritional advantages of frozen. Health-conscious consumers may be surprised to know that fresh and frozen produce don’t vary…much. And in some cases, according to the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, are more nutritious. Here are 4 benefits of choosing frozen produce over fresh.
Fruits and vegetables are most nutritious when they're fully ripe, yet fresh produce is picked prior to reaching complete maturity to avoid overripeness once they’ve reached their final destination. According to Mary Ann Moylan of GIANT Food Stores, fresh produce has less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Produce chosen for freezing is picked at its peak ripeness. After harvest, its processed immediately to minimize nutrient losses. Blast freezing locks the produce in its nutrient-rich state. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, several frozen fruits and vegetables have higher amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folates compared to fresh produce.
2. Decreases Waste
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food waste in the U.S. is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply. A study published by the British Food Journal reports frozen food as an alternative, generating 47% less food waste in homes compared to fresh food.
Fresh produce isn’t readily available throughout the year. It’s often more difficult to acquire during the winter months and generally more expensive. Frozen fruits and vegetables are available year round allowing you to select from a variety of fruits and vegetables no matter the season or time of year.
4. Cost Effective
Because frozen produce can be cheaper than fresh produce, it’s more accessible to everyone including those in food deserts. According to nutritionist Cynthia Sass, the price difference is evident as frozen organic spinach can cost nearly 50 cents less than fresh organic spinach.
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