Whether you’re stocking up your pantry or restaurant kitchen, you naturally always want to find the best ingredients for your meals. However, doing this can be challenging since you need to consider nutrition, taste, affordability, and other factors. Many usually opt for fresh ingredients to achieve all these, but the main problem is their shelf life.
Fresh food is highly prone to spoilage, which makes frozen food a great alternative for your kitchen. There’s a common misconception that frozen ingredients are lower quality—but this isn’t necessarily the case. Frozen food can be a more efficient option for many reasons, from less waste to preserved nutrients. Read more about these reasons below to help you decide if you’re ready to make the switch.
While it might not be the first thing you think of, sustainability is one of the top reasons you should consider using frozen food ingredients. Frozen food serves as a great eco-friendly alternative to fresh food for two main reasons: less waste and carbon footprint reduction.
Food waste is a major problem contributing to climate change. To give you an idea of its scale, over 80 billion pounds of food go to waste each year. About 43% of these come from households while 40% come from restaurants or foodservice companies.
Food waste is mainly caused by people’s tendency to overbuy, which leads to many products spoiling before consumption. Frozen foods can address this problem by prolonging your ingredient’s shelf life. Where fresh food can quickly go bad in a few days, frozen food can last months as long as they are stored in the right temperature conditions. With this, you prevent wasting food and money.
Food waste also has a massive carbon impact that can worsen the climate crisis. The food supply chain emits carbon dioxide at almost every part of the supply chain, from production to transportation to handling. These steps already generate a huge carbon footprint, but it becomes even worse if you don’t eat the food in time. When this happens, it goes to landfills and emits methane—a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.
As mentioned in the first point, using frozen food ingredients helps reduce waste by preventing quick spoilage. So in turn, this also allows you to lower your carbon footprint and minimize any harmful environmental impact.
One of the most significant points of comparison between fresh food and frozen food ingredients is the nutritional content. Frozen food is often perceived as being less healthy. But you’d be surprised to know that they’re just as nutritious—if not more—than their fresh counterparts.
This is because fresh ingredients start losing their nutrients the moment you harvest them. On average, fresh produce loses 30% of its nutritional value within three days after harvest. So by the time you pick them up at retail stores, they have even fewer nutrients left. To make this worse, fresh food continues to lose nutrients as they remain unconsumed. And if you leave them sitting for too long, they’ll spoil and go to waste.
On the other hand, the advantage of frozen food is that it preserves nutrients for a longer time. Freezing essentially delays the “aging” process, slowing down the activity of enzymes that cause food to spoil. This way, you can lock in the taste and nutrients of your ingredients.
Frozen food is generally convenient for many reasons. First, it has a longer shelf life, so you can stock up on ingredients without the risk of spoilage. This makes it easier to manage your inventory since you won’t have to deal with the consequences of understocking or overstocking.
Second, frozen ingredients can also streamline the preparation process, whether at home, a manufacturing facility, or a restaurant. You can pre-clean and pre-chop the frozen produce, then place them in individual packs. So by the time you’re ready to use them, you just need to bring out the exact serving size. This is more convenient than having to thaw all your ingredients, only to use a small portion for your meal.
Dealing with the seasonality of ingredients can be frustrating, especially if you run a food business. For example, restaurants need a stable supply of ingredients based on their menu, but this can be challenging if some of your meals involve seasonal ingredients. These are harder to find when out of season—and if you get any, they may not taste as good as they usually do.
With frozen food, you no longer have to worry about this problem since you can keep your ingredients for a long time. This means you can buy the ingredients during their peak season, then store them in a cold warehouse to preserve them until ready for use. In essence, frozen food is available all year round, while fresh food may be more limited depending on its seasonality.
Freezing preserves your food’s quality, texture, taste, and color by slowing down chemical changes and the growth of microorganisms. This allows your food to stay fresh for a longer time and prevents them from spoiling quickly. Aside from this, frozen food can also retain its nutrients, unlike fresh food, which loses nutrients over time.
Freezing preserves your food’s quality, texture, taste, and color by slowing down chemical changes and the growth of microorganisms. This allows your food to stay fresh for longer and prevents it from spoiling quickly. Aside from this, frozen food can also retain its nutrients, unlike fresh food, which loses nutrients over time.
Frozen foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat are generally available in most groceries and supermarkets. You’ll often find them wrapped in a plastic sheet or placed inside a bag and displayed in the refrigerator or freezer aisle. But if you need frozen ingredients for your business, you should look for a frozen foods supplier or browse through frozen food distributors.
Frozen ingredients should be stored at 0°F or lower to preserve their quality and freshness. For consumers, you can use your refrigerator and freezer at home, depending on what specific item you want to store.
As for businesses, you’ll need a cold warehouse to store larger volumes of your stock. Depending on your resources or capabilities, you can invest in building a facility or outsource the work to a cold storage warehousing partner.
At Sunleaf Foods, we know how important it is for you to use the freshest and most nutritious ingredients at all times. So we make it easy to do this by offering a range of individually quick frozen (IQF) ingredients sourced from our local and global partners.
For food manufacturers and businesses, we have a cold chain program that acts as an extension of your supply chain. Aside from being your wholesale frozen food supplier, we’ll also store your ingredients in our warehouse and deliver them as needed. This way, you can focus on growing your business while we manage your inventory and logistics. For more information on our cold chain program, contact us at 949-523-2832.