Are You Falling Short on Your Fruit & Veggie Quota?
The USDA recommends moderately active individuals consume 1 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 to 2 cups of fruits per day. If you have trouble enough imagining five cups of fruits and vegetables on a plate let alone getting around to eating it, you're in the majority! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables, with consumption being lower among men, young adults and adults living in poverty.
Even those wanting to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables may struggle. Poor meal planning or preparation can result in a missed opportunity to consume nutrient dense foods and lead unwanted food waste.
The Nutrient Retention Problem!
Even with fresh produce, getting the most benefit depends on nutrient content and retention. The longer a fruit or vegetable sits out after being harvested the more its nutritional content declines. According to Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, fresh produce sent to grocery stores are picked early to avoid spoiling in stores. These fruits and vegetables in turn are not able to develop their full range vitamins and minerals.
The critical factor to maximize the nutritional content is to eat your fruits and vegetables close to the time it’s harvested and at peak ripeness. Time spent in distribution, in stores, or at home will decline some nutritional content. For this reason, many experts are praising frozen produce as a viable and even preferred option for nutrient content and cost effectiveness. In our blog post Frozen vs. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, food scientists from the University of California, Davis concluded in some cases frozen fruits and vegetables were better than fresh and that produce frozen soon after being picked actually retained its nutrients.
Fresh Produce vs Frozen Produce
In an article from Precision Nutrition, Ryan Andrews explains unless consumed within 72 hours, a fresh fruit or vegetable might lose 15-60% of its vitamins. The same fruits and vegetables, if frozen, may lose up to 20%.
In a study, Andrews compared the vitamin C content from fresh and frozen spinach. The quantity of vitamin C (mg/100g) of freshly picked spinach after two days dropped from 17 to 4. Frozen spinach only dropped from 17 to 14.
Thalheimer explains that while fresh produce is susceptible to moisture loss, nutrient loss, and further spoilage - freezing puts a halt on all factors.
The Flash Freezing Process
We use a process known as flash freezing which allows produce to fully ripen so our farmers can harvest fruits and vegetables at their peak season and freshness. This ensures the highest quality, taste and nutrient content. Once harvested the produce is taken to our production facility where it is triple washed, cut and frozen, typically all in the same day.