Fresh vs. Frozen Produce: A Simple Guide to the Benefits of IQF Foods

Fruits and vegetables at a farmers market
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Organic frozen fruits (peaches, apricots) on a wooden board
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Frozen berries and vegetables in plastic boxes on white wooden background.

Let’s face it; the average American could stand to consume far more fruits and vegetables than they do. We’re supposed to eat four and a half cups of combined fruits and vegetables. We eat around half of that.

The biggest issue is that fresh produce spoils fast, making it not ideal for families to keep around. But debates rage whether frozen produce can offer the same benefits as fresh or not. Here’s what you need to know.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Fresh ProduceOrganic vegetables. Farmers hands with freshly harvested vegetables

In an ideal world, produce would all be either homegrown in a garden or locally sourced, fresh, and in-season. We’d all have access to farmers’ markets full to bursting with fresh produce ready to be eaten within a few days.

The benefits of eating produce when it’s fresh from the earth stem from is its vitality. When food is frozen and re-thawed, it generates extra moisture in the item that wasn’t there previously. This can lead to a soft or even mushy texture when reheating or cooking with frozen produce.

However, as mentioned above, fresh produce spoils fast. How often have we promised ourselves that we would eat more vegetables, only to find our good intentions turned to yellow-brown slime in the back of our produce drawer? This leads to an astonishing amount of food waste.

The other major issue with fresh produce is accessibility. Many areas of the country are food deserts that rely on produce packers to send them fruits and vegetables, which can ripen or even spoil in transit, despite best efforts to prevent it.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Frozen Produce

Frozen, or IQF, produce has many significant advantages over its fresh counterpart. The biggest advantage, despite what preconceptions you might have about frozen food, is nutrition.

Yes, you read that right. Frozen produce gets picked at the peak of its freshness and nutritional value, then flash-frozen, sealing it at that level of ripeness and readiness. Since most frozen produce gets blanched before it’s frozen, it can lose some of its water-soluble vitamins but retains the rest.

Another thing you should watch for when buying frozen produce is the ingredients list, especially if you purchase something that’s pre-seasoned. While regular, non-seasoned frozen produce is as healthy as fresh while being more accessible, once you start adding fat and salt into the equation, all bets are off.

Is IQF Produce as Healthy as Fresh?

Natural organic bio food. Wooden basket on rustic table.With all this in mind, you might wonder, “Is frozen produce bad? Is fresh produce better?”

Simply put, the answer is no. Frozen produce can be just as nutritious as fresh produce, if not more so. It’s not only easier to deal with and keep preserved for more extended periods, but it also allows you to purchase items out of season without paying premium prices for them.

If you want to start adding more frozen fruits and vegetables to your diet, contact us at SunLeaf Foods today! We prioritize giving back to your health and the health of our community.