Scientists and nutritionists will tell you that fruits and vegetables that were picked at the peak of their ripeness and freshness, quick-frozen in the appropriate conditions, and whose “cold chain” was carefully maintained (no higher temperature than -0.4 degrees F or -18 degrees C), possibly offer superior nutritional value than if bought fresh.
Produce bought at the farmers’ market the day after it was picked and consumed quickly obviously stands the test of freshness and high nutritional value. However, we must bear in mind that the longer raw produce lingers–in trucks, in stores or in our refrigerators–the more its quality declines.
2/ Food waste reduction
Which brings me to the next point: the astoundingly long shelf-life of frozen food. Buy it in bulk if you wish and use it as you need it. When considering that 40 percent of the food bought in America ends up in the bin (this number includes food served at restaurants but you get the idea; the Brits do hardly better at 35 percent), the opportunity offered by frozen food to dramatically shrink this wastage is simply astonishing.
3/ Improving carbon footprint
What is true at the consumer’s level is true on the farm as well: freezing a crop is a perfect way to avoid that any unsold surplus is left to rot in the field or ploughed under. In other words, it ensures that the greenhouse gas emissions that were emitted in order to produce it yield a higher return on investment – so to speak. Which implies a lower average carbon footprint of frozen food when strictly considering food production. Industry professionals argue that this absence of waste on the field, added to the decreased need for regular trips to the store (since consumers can buy in large quantities and fill their freezer) point to a very respectable carbon footprint of frozen food.
This picture is obviously incomplete.