Fresh Vs. Frozen: A Case for Loving Your Frozen Veggies
Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —
In a world where fresh foods are often considered optimal, many people are under the impression that the best option, especially in terms of produce, is to buy and consume as quickly as possible, a glorified foot-race from farm to table. But, is “fresh” really better? Is the only way to get all of the nutrition (and taste) you want to eat fresh, no exceptions?
The answer is no.
Not only are frozen fruits and vegetables just as healthy as their “freshly-picked” counterparts, but the fact that they are frozen means that there is more variety to choose from year-round. Plus, because frozen foods keep, the amount of food waste produced each year can be dramatically reduced as more consumers embrace the quality of frozen.
Just consider a few facts about frozen foods that point to the benefits of keeping a well-stocked freezer…
- Nutrient content in frozen produce is just as high, if not higher, than fresh fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are frozen immediately after harvest, they have less time to lose their nutrient content compared to most fresh produce, which is often picked too soon so that it can ripen during transit. Certain types of fruit and vegetables actually are healthier frozen because of this, retaining more of their available nutrients than fresh produce.
- Frozen produce lasts (so much) longer than fresh fruits and vegetables. Food waste is a major concern around the world, but especially in the United States. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “One third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted… Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers, have the highest wastage rates of any food.” Unlike fresh produce, which can go bad in a matter of days, frozen fruits and veggies can last up to 8 months in your freezer, making it a great choice economically, too.
- Frozen produce provides you more variety year-round. Not only are frozen fruits and vegetables nutrient-rich and boast a long shelf-life, but they give consumers the ability to enjoy favorite produce year-round. Frozen fruits and veggies can be on-hand regardless of the season, offering more options without the disappointment of “off-season” produce tasting bland because it was picked too soon and then shipped thousands of miles in order to end up in your kitchen. In fact, on average, produce (whether organic or conventional) is shipped 1500 miles in order to end up on your plate. When shipped “fresh”, the “farther your produce travels, the less nutritious (and tasty) it is by the time you eat it”.
This is not to slight fresh produce; after all, their frozen counterparts begin as fresh. It’s just nice (and healthy) to know that Hanson Logistics freezers are filled with food that’s equally as good for you as that in the produce isle.