Frozen food is as effective as ‘fresh' in providing necessary nutrients to primary school children, according to a new scientific report.
The report, which investigated the nutritional content of primary school food, found statistical evidence that established there was no significant difference between ‘fresh' and frozen food for the 37 key nutrients tested.
Researcher and report author Charlotte Harden said: "We are not surprised by these results. They correlate with findings of similar recently published reports that demonstrate frozen can be nutritionally comparable to ‘fresh' produce."
In many cases, ‘fresh' food was found to suffer significant deterioration in the supply chain which can lead to lower nutritional value than frozen equivalents. On this basis, researchers recommended frozen food as effective in providing appropriate nutrition for primary school children.
Beverley Baker, chairman of the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) welcomed the new report: "We strongly believe that both fresh and frozen produce] have a place in the provision of healthy school meals.
"From a school catering perspective, a combination of both fresh and frozen food presents advantages in terms of storage and preparation as well as optimum use of cooking facilities."
Conducted by the Food Innovation Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, the Frozen Foods - Use & Nutritional Acceptability in Primary School Lunch Provision report:
- Studied four primary schools to examine the current use of frozen food in the provision of UK primary school meals
- Conducted statistical analysis to establish the nutritional content of fresh versus frozen product versions served in primary schools
- Carried out independent sample t-tests to determine significant differences between the average values of fresh and frozen food
- Evaluated the results of the statistical analysis to establish the nutritional impact of using frozen food for primary school meal provision
By Janie Stamford
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