Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Many critics find fault with food processing industry because of their perceived feeling that industry converts natural foods into unnatural ones by resorting to various means like refining, use of chemicals as process aides, preservatives, colorants, taste boosters etc. Many processed products, made with high calories, salt and fat are being blamed for over eating and over weight amongst consumers. Against such a background it is refreshing to hear some good words about industry's role in protecting nutrients in natural foods through technological intervention. Freezing technology, the foundation for the vast frozen food industry, is credited with protecting temperature sensitive nutrients from destruction. Here is a take on that issue.

"The study compares nutrient levels in frozen vegetables to the nutrient levels in "fresh" grocery store vegetables. Their findings are that "fresh" vegetables can lose up to 45 percent of their nutritional value between being picked and landing on a grocery shelf. The cause of this loss is simply the length of time it takes for your "fresh" vegetables to arrive at your grocery store. Once picked, a vegetable's nutritional value will immediately start to decline. If you factor in the time it took for your vegetables to get to the store and the amount of time they're stored on your own shelves, the nutritional value could be completely diminished by the time you eat it. This is cause for concern for anyone, because a vegetable's key components are vitamin C and glucosinolates,thought to prevent some form of cancer".

If this is the situation in developed countries, imagine the disadvantages a consumer in any developing country will have when he has to depend on wilted vegetables vended in old archaic vegetable markets or push tracts or on the road side with environmental temperatures as high as 35-45C during summer. Contrary to common man's perception frozen foods score over other forms of processed foods if compared on a cost scale. Only hindrance to massive expansion of frozen food products is the initial investment required for establishing the infrastructure for freezing, cold chain necessary for transportation and frozen storage for long time at the retailers' end as well as at consumer end.


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