Frozen Fruits & Veggies Provide Healthy Options for School Meals

October 07, 2009

By Rochelle Davis, HSC Founding Executive Director

New research reported in the International Supermarket News says that frozen food can be nutritionally equal – or even superior – to fresh produce:

The search for new and improved school meals has revealed that a mix of fresh and frozen foods creates the optimum result in terms of healthy eating and production.

Fresh produce can deteriorate along the supply chain, as the journey from the field to the shelf can seriously compromise the nutritional value and quality of fresh produce due to exposure. But frozen food's freshness is maintained by the temperature at which it is kept. There are also benefits in that frozen products are cheaper, create less waste and are more accessible to institutions such as schools.

Our experience in Chicago certainly confirms that. Last year the Chicago Public Schools and its partner Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality launched a frozen local program to take regionally produced fruits and vegetables and, within 24 hours of harvest, flash freeze them for serving all year in CPS school meals.

In an article at FamilyFarmed.org, Chartwells Thompson Regional Vice President Bob Bloomer says: “This is a great way to lock in the nutrients of these fruits and
vegetables… We will be purchasing thousands of pounds
of these products this school year. The kids love it.”