Why It Might Be Time to Forgo "Fresh" and Visit the Freezer Aisle


Justin Coit for MyDomaine

If there are two things we can certainly get behind, it's taking care of our environment and taking care of ourselves. But sometimes, our pursuit of the latter results in forsaking the former, particularly when it comes to shopping for fresh food. With regard to things like fruit, vegetables, and fish, we tend to think fresh is better; in our minds, frozen alternatives just don't carry the same nutritional value. However, our perception could be a bit off base—and our incorrect assumptions are contributing to food waste.

For frozen food, "the vegetables are typically shipped straight from the farm to processing facilities and frozen or canned within hour, then stabilized for months or years," describes JoAnne Berkenkamp, senior advocate for the food and agriculture program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in an article on the subject in The Washington Post. With fresh foods, she describes, "you could be moving from farm to packing shed to warehouse to truck to distribution facility to supermarket," so by the time you get your hands on them, frozen fruit, vegetables, and fish are actually a lot fresher.

That's not to mention the room for loss with fresh (i.e., perishable) items. "About 43% of all food waste occurs in consumers' homes," says Berkenkamp. "It's the largest single contributor to food waste, and much of that will be fresh product." Instead of succumbing to the misled notion that frozen food is somehow less fresh or nutritious, get over the inferiority complex and opt for a trip down the freezer aisle the next time you're stocking up on groceries. You'll be getting the same nutrients without contributing so much unnecessary waste.

Next, be sure to browse everything you need to eat healthy in 2017.