March is National Frozen Food Month! In honor of the occasion, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) invites you to take a fresh look at frozen foods and learn why frozen is how “fresh stays fresh.”
FROZEN. HOW FRESH STAYS SAFE.
Freezing is nature’s pause button. Freezing simply pauses just-picked, just-baked and just-crafted foods, keeping them at their peak of freshness and locking in their flavor and nutrients.
Freezing is a natural way to keep food safe by preventing microorganisms from growing and by slowing down the enzyme activity that causes food to spoil. Modern freezing techniques used by fruit and vegetable growers and makers of prepared meals are designed to capture and preserve food at the peak of its freshness and nutrient content.
FROZEN. HOW FRESH STAYS NUTRITIOUS
Frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients and, in many cases, are packed with even higher nutrient levels than their fresh counterparts.
In fact, two Frozen Food Foundation-commissioned nutritional studies conducted by the University of Georgia (UGA) and the University of California-Davis (UC Davis) reveal that frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh-stored produce. Specifically, the “market basket” study by UGA found the amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and folates in several frozen fruits and vegetables are actually greater than their fresh-stored counterparts. Similarly, the UC Davis study found that frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equivalent to fresh-stored produce.
FROZEN. HOW FRESH STAYS ACCESSIBLE
Frozen foods make realistic, balanced and affordable menus accessible to all Americans. For example, results from menu modeling reveal menus featuring mostly frozen food can meet energy, nutrient and cost goals based on recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate and USDA’s Moderate Cost Food Plan.
To demonstrate how frozen foods can fit into the American diet, AFFI released a white paper outlining a menu for one week that is 95 percent composed of frozen foods. All major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, are well represented throughout the menu. The total cost per week is $59.66 or $8.52 per day, which falls within USDA’s Moderate Cost Food Plan.
I invite you to learn more about the research and initiatives mentioned above, and to celebrate the role of frozen foods in providing access to nutritious, safe and affordable food for millions of Americans.
Authored by: Joseph Clayton, AFFI’s Interim President (now IFIC President as of July 2016)