Shelf-stable versus Fresh & Frozen Veggies… which is best?
Scanning the veg aisles (whether in store or online) can be a confusing experience. There’s the fresh section, the pantry aisle AND the frozen aisle and your favorite veggies can be found in all of them!
Shelf stable, fresh, frozen or dehydrated – we have an abundance of choices at our fingertips, but is there a difference in the nutritional value? Ruth Tongue explains:
“There’s a lot of misconception around the nutritional quality of processed foods with the idea that fresh is always best in terms of nutrient content and availability. This is not always true. In fact it’s been shown that many shelf-stable, frozen and dehydrated foods can have equal and often greater nutritional quality than fresh foods.”
Interestingly, studies have found the Vitamin C content to be higher in certain frozen and shelf stable fruit and vegetables. And the same can be said for nutrients too with reports showing no difference in the levels of important nutrients (including magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron) between the frozen/fresh/shelf stable formats.
The main reason for this is down to storage and handling. Fresh produce can lose half of its vitamins and phytonutrients during storage or cooking whilst the B and C vitamins in fruits and vegetables are also highly sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen. Carrots for example can lose close to 80% of their vitamin C content within a week of refrigerated storage.
With time pressures attached to fresh, it’s clear to see why shelf stable/frozen/dehydrated is an attractive proposition for busy folk.
Ruth says: “Studies show that shelf stable foods like tinned and packet vegetables, beans, fruits, fish and grains contain similar if not greater levels of nutrients that the fresh equivalent. This is largely down to the quick nature of the processing, which retains nutrients before they’re exposed to air and moisture.”
“From a convenience perspective, this method of processing means that we can have access to high quality foods wherever we are (be it up a mountain, in space or on our commute!) and can keep plenty of healthy options in our cupboards for whenever we need.”
Things to watch out for are added salt and sugar content (commonly used to preserve foods) but Fullgreen products have none of these additives or preservatives, giving you all the benefits of veg in a shelf stable format without any nutritional compromises (not to mention all of that extra fridge/freezer space!).
The important thing to remember is that veg is good for us, period. So whichever format you’re eating in, you’re going to be benefitting from all those amazing vitamins and nutrients that whole, unrefined plant foods give us.