Frozen fresh produce "less likely to be thrown away"

Householders create less waste from frozen vegetables, potato products and berry fruit than from fresh or preserved products, according to a study by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.

image: outsider434 (CC BY 2.0)
image: outsider434 (CC BY 2.0)

The researchers conducted an online survey from a representative group of over 500 Dutch households, to capture their routines and stock management as well as the food they threw away.

Participants indicated how often they consumed 12 types of products, how often they disposed of each and the habitual quantities involved.

For six of the vegetables tested, plus potato products and berry fruit, the volumes discarded per consumption event were the smallest for frozen. For peas, carrots and unbattered fish, the quantities of frozen, fresh and preserved foods going to waste were approximately the same.

"Dutch consumers prefer fresh produce, but faced with so much food waste, it could be wiser to choose for more frozen food," said WUR's project manager Anke Janssen.

"Frozen products have often extended shelf life and are easier to divide into portions. But we want to better understand the precise underlying behaviour with regard to shopping, storage and disposal."

The research forms part of a project to enable companies to integrate the prevention and reduction of food waste into their businesses. The pilot study was funded by the agency TKI Agri & Food and frozen food company Nomad Foods Europe, with the results published in the journal Waste Management.

About a quarter of all food intended for human consumption is thought to be lost in the distribution chain, with households in the Netherlands, as in the UK, accounting for around half of this.

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