Posted by Neharika Sabharwal on March 06, 2010

According to researchers, fresh veggies lose a lot of nutritional benefits in the time lapse between picking them in the field and the time they are consumed.

Nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker said, “The nutritional content of fresh vegetables begins to deteriorate from the minute they are picked. This means that by the time they end up on our plate, although we may think we’re reaping the vegetable’s full nutritional benefits this is often not the case. With frozen vegetables, where vitamins are locked in at the point of freezing, there's no need to worry about how nutritious they are”.

Nutrients of frozen and fresh vegetables compared
A study conducted by UK-based Institute of Food Research on behalf of the frozen food manufacturer Birds Eye found that nearly 45 percent of the important nutrients in fresh vegetables diminish between the process of harvesting, supermarket stay, home, and the actual consumption.

Fresh vegetables take a fortnight to reach the table after being picked from the farm, though the common belief of 80 percent shoppers was that fresh vegetables in supermarkets are not more than four days old.

The produce arrives in the supermarket after nine days and remains on the shelves for up to four days. This combined with the home storage periods implies that by the time it is ready for eating, the nutritional value of the vegetables has shriveled considerably.

The scientists discovered that after a time gap of 16 days fresh green beans lost up to 45 percent nutrients while broccoli and cauliflower lost up to 25 percent, whereas garden peas and sweet corn lost up to 15 and 10 percent of the nutritional value respectively.

On the other hand, fresh vegetables frozen within hours of harvesting retain more nutrients, freshness, vitamins and taste.

Andy Stark, Head of R&D & Vegetable Category at Birds Eye stated, “What this research tells us is that significant confusion exists over the nutritional content of fresh and frozen veg. Whilst many people now understand the benefits of frozen in terms of wastage, lower cost and convenience, very few are aware that frozen can also win on nutritional value.”

The study highlights that there are two ways to stem the nutrient loss of vegetables. The first option is to eat vegetables frozen shortly after harvesting where nutrients are retained.

Or one can purchase handpicked produce directly from a local farmer that maintains the natural taste, texture, and quality of the vegetables.



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