Frozen foods are unduly criticised for being just another processed junk. Well that is not the case! Most favour fresh fruits and vegetables as they offer more nutrition than their frozen counterparts.
Consumers can’t be blamed for holding such opinions. Fresh is delicious, I agree! But fresh is best only if it is consumed right after being plucked from the farm. Because this happens less, fresh produce become vulnerable to nutrient loss. As part of the food industry, it is important to break old opinions and make consumers understand the benefits of advance technologies.
Nutrition is always on my mind for my family. Ideally, I would love to buy fresh veggies from the local market or the grocery shop. Get home, wash them and prepare a healthy meal for my family in the evening. Nothing would satisfy me more. Unfortunately, modern day schedules don’t allow for it.
In reality, I buy grocery a week in advance, store it in refrigerator before putting to use three to four days later. By that time it not only gets muggy, but also deteriorates in nutrition.
Like most consumers, I was skeptic about frozen foods first. Would it suffice my family’s nutritional needs? Are there preservatives added to them? I had many wrong hunches about its use. So it was refreshing to know from our food technologist at Sun Impex that by the time fresh produce reaches the aisle of a grocery store, it may have very well lost half of its nutrition.
She explained to me that modern freezing technique known as IQF (individually quick freezing) was revolutionizing the food industry. In comparison to traditional and slow freezing methods – IQF is a quick freezing technique. It is because of this technology that now freshness can be locked without harming the internal structure of the fruits and vegetables.
If you take IQF peas or IQF sweet corn for example, you’ll see each particle separately frozen and not as a frozen cohesive block. This makes working with them very easy, while also eliminating drop loss and thawing.
Once harvested, fresh fruits and vegetables begin to lose their original flavour and texture because of respiration (a process where water loss and heat release takes place) and due to enzyme production (chymotrypsin and trypsin). Freezing deactivates these actions, locking the nutrients as it is. Researches confirm that frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally similar – and often better than fresh produce.
Freezing in itself is a way to preserve food. As such no unwanted preservative or additive are added to frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables, without salt or sugar is a preferred norm now– it’s all healthy and as natural as fresh.
Moreover, it is not just nutrition that compels one to use frozen foods. It is the convenience of stocking frozen veggies and fruits without worrying about them getting brown. Frozen foods limit food wastage, save preparation time, are affordable, easy to store and available throughout the year irrespective of the season. The only difference between fresh and frozen is the journey through which they travel.