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Frozen food can be better than fresh

A recent letter from The Grocer magazine in response to this article.

Sir, It was disappointing to read that dairy experts have warned labelling butter as defrosted would mislead consumers into thinking there was a quality issue (‘Suppliers fear stigma of frozen butter label’, The Grocer, 19 February).

This highlights the negative attitude to frozen food within the grocery industry. Dairy experts know that butter that has been frozen is as good as chilled and yet they feel consumers will react adversely.

All the evidence proves the case for frozen food. Freezing is the most effective way of sealing vitamins and minerals into food, making frozen products frequently nutritionally superior to their ‘fresh’ counterparts. Two days after picking, spinach can lose 75% of its vitamin C content, and fish sold as ‘fresh’ can be 14 days old by the time it reaches consumers. Timely freezing can prevent this leaching of vitamins and minerals.

Frozen food often tastes better. ‘Sensory comparison’ research with top chefs confirms that the taste and texture of frozen is as good as, and Sometimes superior to, fresh. Freezing is an ideal way to lock in flavour at source, giving that just-picked flavour. Freezing also helps assure supply and reduce food waste. While there’s no doubt consumers don’t fully appreciate the benefits of frozen food, surely it is incumbent on the industry to educate consumers rather than perpetuate the ‘fresh is best’ myth.

Brian Young, director general, the British Frozen Food Federation