Benefits of frozen vs. fresh
At a time when food waste is top of mind around the globe, researchers say U.S. consumers are looking for portion-controlled, frozen foods that also taste great.
However, over the last several years, sales of frozen vegetables and frozen meals have remained relatively flat. Consumers are instead continuing to turn to the produce section or farmer’s markets for their fresh fruits and vegetables.
What consumers may not know is the freezer aisle offers convenient and sustainable options for purchasing “fresh” fruits and vegetables.
That’s the message behind the new campaign “Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh.,” which represents the first time food makers have banded together in the effort overcome misperceptions of frozen food.
The campaign was born from a groundbreaking study from the University of Georgia, commissioned by the Frozen Food Foundation in 2013, which compared the nutrient content of eight commonly purchased frozen and fresh-stored fruits and vegetables – blueberries, strawberries, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, green peas and spinach.
The results: frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equal to – and in many cases superior to – their fresh counterparts.
While we can all agree fresh, hand-picked fruit and veggies are delicious, our guiding principle at General Mills is “it’s not nutritious, unless you eat it.”
In an ideal world, I would spend my mornings perusing the aisles of my neighborhood farmer’s market for fresh produce to prepare for my family later that evening. Unfortunately, as many Americans can relate, my schedule doesn’t always allow for that.
In reality, I grocery shop a few times a month with intentions of cooking at home, only to find the once-fresh fruit and vegetables I purchased soggy or molding in the back of my refrigerator weeks later.
And I’m not alone. Recent surveys show that Americans, on average, store perishable fruits and vegetables for up to five days or more before consuming them, at which point much of their important nutritional value has escaped.
The General Mills Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition (BIHN) states that while freshly picked vegetables remain the nutrient leaders, with prolonged storage, substantial nutrient degradation can occur in fresh vegetables, even with refrigeration.
“Consumers can feel good about serving frozen vegetables to their families because the act of freezing ‘locks in’ important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables over time,” says Sarah Prasky, nutrition scientist at the BIHN. “Many frozen vegetables are a convenient option to ensure your family is getting the nutrients they need.”
Consumers site affordability, quick and easy preparation, ease of storage, portion-control and reduced waste as key reasons they purchase frozen fruits and vegetables, according to research from the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
“We are committed to providing consumers with ready access to nutritious, great-tasting vegetables at an affordable price,” says John Stockman, associate marketing director, Green Giant. “Our frozen vegetable products allow us to do just that.”
Green Giant and Cascadian Farm pride themselves on their seed-to-farm-to-freezer process, which ensures their products are harvested at the peak of freshness and frozen shortly after to lock in important vitamins and nutrients. You can get an inside look on this three step cycle at GreenGiant.com.
Other General Mills frozen products like Old El Paso’s frozen entrees include real white meat chicken or steak, vegetables and more for an authentic Mexican meal packed with important vitamins and nutrients with very little prep.
“Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh.” initiatives will engage consumers where they live, work and shop through national television, digital and print advertising, online engagement and in-store and out-of-store promotion. Several General Mills brands will be featured within the campaign over the next year.
To learn more about the “Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh.” campaign and frozen food myths, visit HowFreshStaysFresh.com.