Mythbuster: Fresh is not always BEST! The Truth About Frozen Meals

Frozen foods very often get a ‘bad rap’, with the saying that fresh is ALWAYS the best. This is, however, not necessarily true since the loss of nutrients during storage is probably more than you would expect (1).  

For many reasons frozen foods are a great choice; including convenience, cost effectiveness, safety and flexibility (2). However, the top reason you should include frozen foods in your meals is the nutrient quality. Quality of nutrients in fresh foods can vary greatly, depending on a number of factors, including the storage environment, distance travelled, time since being picked etc... Actually freezing food near the farm has been proven to preserve the highest level of nutrients, and is also proven to preserve texture, taste and most importantly nutritional value of foods (1).  

Fruits and vegetables are key components of our diet providing vital nutrients and are also extremely beneficial for preventative health (1). However the ‘farm-to-store-to-plate’ process is why fresh isn’t always best. As mentioned above, as soon as fruit or vegetables are picked, their nutrient content starts to decrease in value. The longer the food takes to make it to the store and then the plate the greater the amount of nutrients lost (1).    

So why does the level of nutrients in the produce degrade? Fruit and vegetables, once picked, begin to lose water and release heat and with these a number of nutrients. Consequently, store-bought ‘fresh’ fruit and vegetables can lose as much as half of their nutrients by the time they make it to the table (1). Due to the fact that frozen foods are generally frozen very soon after picking, the nutrients are preserved, thus the nutrient values at the time of consumption are often higher than that retained by their fresh counterparts (2).

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Hit100 frozen meals such as our Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Bake, Chicken Thai Green Curry and Beef and Black Bean Stir Fry are packed with over 150grams of vegetables, frozen at the peak of their freshness and are a great way to get some of the highest nutrient quality of your 5 vegetables daily as recommended by the Australian Nutrition Guidelines.

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Bibliography

  1. Rickman, J. B. D. &. B. C., 2007. Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Volume 87, pp. 930-944.

  2. Whitmore, M., 2017. The Advantages of Frozen Foods. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/468741-the-advantages-of-frozen-foods/
    [Accessed 7 April 2018].