By: Sue Borra, RD, Chief Health and Wellness Officer for FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation
Today’s shoppers are looking for healthy, easy meal solutions, and since March is National Nutrition Month and National Frozen Food Month, it is an excellent time to take a fresh look at frozen foods. Frozen foods currently represent 6.2 percent of sales at food retail. When you consider that frozen foods can offer shoppers A) a nutritious option and B) a convenient meal solution, the opportunity to make frozen foods aisle part of your grocery store’s health and wellness offering is clear.
Last fall Emma Gregory, RD, manager of regulatory and technical affairs at the American Frozen Food Institute and I conducted a webinar for retail dietitians on “Helping Shoppers take a Healthful Look at the Frozen Food Aisle.” Emma shared data from nutrition and menu modeling studies that show how frozen foods are a nutritious and cost-effective choice for consumers. She refers to freezing as “nature’s pause button” and describes how fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness and then quickly flash, frozen—locking in the nutritional benefits. In addition, she notes that this process also insures nutrition equivalency or even greater value of many nutrients when compared to fresh items.
To help educate shoppers, the American Frozen Food Institute has produced a Supermarket Dietitian Toolkit, Shopping the Frozen Aisle, which provides background resources for dietitians and helpful materials to share with shoppers. Join the conversation on social media with #MarchFrozenFoodMonth.