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Current Position:Home » News » Frozen & Deli Food » Topic

Are people snobbish about frozen food?

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-07-05  Views: 25
Core Tip: A new series captures what life is like at frozen food retailer Iceland, but are some of us a little bit snooty in our attitude to frozen food?
 A new series captures what life is like at frozen food retailer Iceland, but are some of us a little bit snooty in our attitude to frozen food?
Google it and you'll see there have been dozens of attempts to establish whether fresh or frozen vegetables are better for you.
 
Many cite a US Food and Drug Administration report from 1998 that established frozen was better than fresh. Advocates of frozen say the process prevents nutrient loss occurring in transport. Even those who plump for fresh admit that frozen vegetables are still a healthy option.
And yet there's a marked degree of antipathy towards frozen food.
 
"Iceland is a classic British institution that half the country loves and half the country hates. Half of the population absolutely hate it without ever having, in most cases, been in a shop or bought a product," says Keith Hann, PR consultant for Iceland Foods. "In a word, snobbery."
For some, frozen food conjures up images of Mike Leigh's 1977 drama Abigail's Party, with kitsch dishes such as defrosted prawn cocktail, vol-au-vents and black forest gateau, not forgetting the staple of any 70s dinner party - the Arctic roll.
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Brian Young, director general of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), says he senses a chill in the air when it comes to the British public's opinion of frozen food.
 
"Pretty much every food manufacturer will do blind testing of their product and every blind test that I've known, particularly on fish and other products, will ask the consumer to compare two samples side by side and nearly always they prefer the frozen variety.
"If you then show them the packaging and you show it was a frozen product or a fresh product, they then nearly always choose the fresh one, even though they have just tasted something that was significantly better."
Price could be a factor, suggests Young.
 
Research has found some frozen fruit contained higher levels of vitamin C
 
"[Frozen food] can be produced much more efficiently than a fresh or a chilled counterpart, so it finishes up that the price of the product is quite often significantly less. People associate the fact that if you looked at two pizzas and one was £2.50 and one was £1.50 you naturally assume the £2.50 one is better quality."
Cutting down on waste in the supply chain is one of the biggest advantages of freezing, says Young.

But he also claims there are health benefits. Research conducted recently by Chester University and Leatherhead Food Research - and funded by the BFFF - found in two out of three cases frozen fruit and vegetables contained more antioxidants and nutrients than fresh produce. "They are losing their vitamins, they are losing their antioxidants the minute they come out of the ground or you pick them off the plant or tree, so by freezing them you lock in that goodness for longer," says Young.
 
However Michael Barker, editor of Fresh Produce Journal, says consumers do like the taste and that "just picked" look of fresh produce.
"It's true scientifically that you do start to lose [some] nutrients as soon as the product is picked, but I don't think it's such a massive loss that you're not still getting those nutrients. It's still an incredibly healthy product to eat regardless of whether it's fresh or frozen," says Barker.
 
 
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