Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables often cheaper, healthier and tastier than fresh, says Which?

CANNED and frozen fruit and veg can be cheaper, healthier and tastier than fresh food, according to consumer group, Which?.

Produce fresh from the farm is not necessarily better for you, and may not even contain as many nutrients, vitamins and minerals as the tinned or frozen versions, researchers explained.

This is because it can be weeks before fresh fruit and veg hit supermarket shelves after being harvested, by which time some of the nutrients have deteriorated.

But frozen produce is steam-blanched – a process where the food is briefly cooked in boiling water or steam – within hours after being picked to kill any germs and bugs.

They're then flash-frozen to preserve the food at their taste and nutritional best, potentially making it better for you than the fresh stuff.

Some nutrients are lost when it comes to canned fruit and veg but others are enhanced, giving them extra benefits compared to fresh produce.

Here’s how to cut the cost of your grocery shop

SAVING on your shop can make a big difference to your wallet. Here are some tips from Money.co.uk about how you can cut the cost of your shopping bills:

  • Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
  • Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
  • Never shop hungry – you are far more likely to buy  more food if your tummy is rumbling
  • Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
  • Use social media – follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
  • Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
  • Check the small print –  It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
  • Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards

Once the food is picked and packaged in a tin, it's sealed and heated to kill harmful bacteria.

During this process, some vitamins that are sensitive to heat – like vitamins B and C – are destroyed, but for others it actually makes the nutrients easier to absorb once you've eaten them.

For example, lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and is shown to be good for cardiovascular health.

Heating it up actually makes it better for the human body, meaning you'll get more lycopene from tinned or canned tomatoes than fresh ones.

It's the same for asparagus, spinach, kale and mushrooms, where the antioxidants are boosted by the heating process compared to eating them raw.

The consumer group advises that if you often find yourself throwing away rotting fresh fruit and vegetables it may be more cost effective to switch to tinned or frozen versions as they will last longer.

Tinned and frozen food is also typically cheaper too – you can expect to spend around £1.57 for fresh broccoli and only 86p for frozen, according to the consumer group.

Similarly, fresh raspberries will set you back around £9 per kilo while frozen they'll cost £5.75 or £3.34 if it's tinned.

"It's important to choose tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables that don't contain added sugar and salt," explained Which?.

"Go for tinned fruit and veg in natural juices or water, rather than syrup or water with added salt or sugar."

Which?'s findings have been supported by a Channel 5 documentary that ran earlier this year, that also discovered that there are more vitamins in frozen fruit and veg than fresh buys.

Iceland is to dish out free bags of frozen vegetables to families on certain benefits, including Universal Credit.

Poundland is rolling out its new chilled and frozen range, including pizza, chips and ready meals.

 

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