Many people have debated the merits of frozen foods versus fresh produce. The main concerns revolve around the loss of nutrition during the freezing process, and these concerns are amplified when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are, after all, the main source of certain nutrients, minerals and antioxidants that cannot be found in other food categories, and we thus consume fruits and vegetables for the purpose of obtaining these nutrients. It is self-defeating if we freeze vegetables to preserve them for consumption at a later date, only to have lost all the nutrients in the process.
This concern is not completely unfounded. The process of freezing is known to damage tissue and destroys the delicate cellular structure of fruits and vegetables, leading to an irreversible loss of nutrients. That, however, is reserved for freezing techniques that existed in the past. Technological advances have allowed for the advent of flash-freezing, a process that freezes any food item in mere seconds. The sheer speed at which this process is carried out prevents serious cellular damage from taking place. Most fruits and vegetables available in the supermarket and the grocers thus retain as much nutrients as when they were first harvested.
A secondary concern would be whether frozen veggies actually taste as garden fresh as fresh vegetables. That, to me, boils down to a matter of personal preference. Consumer surveys have consistently failed to draw distinct preferences for either frozen or fresh veggies, especially when consumers are subject to a blindfold test. Furthermore, most dishes call for some form of dressing or preparation to make it more palatable, and this would mask the ‘frozen’ taste, if there were any to start with.
The final, and perhaps most important, reason for consuming frozen vegetables is that is vastly increases the variety of vegetables one can choose from. Typically, flying over fresh vegetables from colder climes into the tropics, and vice versa, has been the main mode of transporting vegetable varieties. However, this method tends to be costly and the transportation process, no matter how fast, will inevitably result in some degree of deterioration in the quality of produce. Frozen vegetables, on the other hand, can be stored for a longer period, and thus can be transported without fear of the veggies wilting. This also allows for seasonal vegetables to be available all year round.
I live in the small tropical island of Singapore, and land is too scarce for agriculture here. Frozen vegetables are thus an excellent source of expanding the variety of veggies available to the local consumer. What joy it is to be able to eat delicious fruits and vegetables from places in Africa and the Americas. Better yet, the local food laboratories have confirmed that there is insignificant loss in the nutrient and mineral level of frozen fruits and vegetables as compared to their fresh counterparts.