As Americans strive to eat healthier and add more fruits and vegetables to their diets, a study from the University of Georgia (UGA) has a simple message for consumers: think frozen.
In partnership with the Frozen Food Foundation, UGA conducted a unique study comparing the nutrient content of eight commonly-purchased frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Conducted by UGA Professor Dr. Ronald Pegg, the study mimicked consumer purchasing and storage habits of blueberries, strawberries, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, green peas and spinach. To account for variables such as growing conditions, country of origin and time in the supply chain, composite samples were prepared from fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables purchased from six independent grocery stores.
Each fruit and vegetable was analyzed under three conditions: frozen; fresh (on the day of purchase); and fresh-stored (after five days of storage in a kitchen refrigerator). Surveys show that Americans may, on average, store perishable fruits and vegetables for up to five days or more, based on bi-weekly grocery shopping habits.1
The study results reveal that the nutritional value of many frozen fruits and vegetables are generally equal to that of their fresh counterparts. The nutritional value – namely the amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folates – of some frozen fruits and vegetables is greater than that of fresh-stored produce. This determination likely owes itself to the nutrient degradation that occurs in fresh produce during storage.
This research provides valuable new insights into the nutritional value of frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables, adding significantly to the growing body of research highlighting the nutritional benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables.2
1. Food Marketing Institute U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2012 Executive Summary; http://www.icn-net.com/docs/12086_FMIN_Trends2012_v5.pdf
2. University of Chester Antioxidants in Fresh and Frozen Fruit and Vegetables: Impact Study of Varying Storage Conditions; http://bfff.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Leatherhead-Chester-Antioxidant-Reports-2013.pdf
A copy of the published research in Elsevier’s Journal of Food Composition & Analysis is available here.