This two-year study compared the status of targeted nutrients in selected fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. In addition, a novel third category was examined—a “fresh-stored” categorization intended to mimic typical consumer storage patterns of produce following purchase (five days of refrigeration). Broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, green peas, spinach, blueberries, and strawberries of all three categories of freshness were analyzed for their concentrations of l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), trans-β-carotene (provitamin A), and total folate. Analyses were performed in triplicate on representative samples using standardized analytical methods and included a quality control plan for each nutrient. In the majority of comparisons between nutrients within the categories of fresh, frozen, and “fresh-stored”, the findings showed no significant differences in assessed vitamin contents. In the cases of significant differences, frozen produce outperformed “fresh-stored” more frequently than “fresh-stored” outperformed frozen. When considering the refrigerated storage to which consumers may expose their fresh produce prior to consumption, the findings of this study do not support the common belief of consumers that fresh food has significantly greater nutritional value than its frozen counterpart.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.