A study by experts at Manchester Metropolitan University has revealed that British families reduce their waste by nearly half (47.5%) by eating frozen food.
In a two-week long experiment, the Manchester Food Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University asked 20 families to eat one week of meals made from fresh ingredients, and then the same meals the following week from frozen ingredients to compare waste, costs and taste.
The study, commissioned by British supermarket chain Iceland Foods Ltd, found that cooking from frozen food was significantly better value and there was considerably less waste, with many families agreeing that their frozen meals were as good as, or better than fresh.
A report published by Wrap in January 2017 found the estimated amount of household food waste for 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, up by 4.4pc from 7 million tonnes in 2012.
The Food Standards Agency have identified that fruit, vegetables and bread are the most commonly thrown away items.
The comparisons of costs and waste were based on quantitative data drawn from diaries and qualitative data from focus groups. Families completed diaries to record information on their breakfast, lunch and evening meal for seven days in both the ‘fresh’ and the ‘frozen’ week.
The study found that 17 out of 20 families said they wasted less when it came to frozen week. On average, including the three families who had more frozen wastage, there was a 47.48% reduction in waste in the frozen week.
When it came to cost, the study revealed that 18 out of 20 families found frozen to be better value than fresh (on average 29.9% better value) and across the study there was a total saving of £752.43 when using frozen (£1,764.01 compared to £2,516.44), with the average cost saving per family being £37.62.
In terms of taste, items such as frozen pastries, fruit, vegetables, mashed potato and fries – especially the sweet potato fries – were very popular. While fresh food scored better than frozen by just seven points (150.7 versus 144) families generally agreed that they found the taste of frozen as good as fresh and that they would buy more frozen items in the future, particularly as they now knew more about frozen food.
Commenting on the study, Iceland’s Head Chef Neil Nugent said: “The results of this independent study are really promising with many newcomers to frozen particularly impressed by the huge waste reduction, range and quality of food available, as well as the cost, convenience and taste.
“This reflects what we’re seeing across the country as shoppers turn to their freezers to provide speedy nutritional meals and help them keep tighter control of their household budget. And with our society becoming ever more conscientious about waste, substituting some fresh items for frozen will keep lots more food out of landfill.”