Food waste has come under high scrutiny in recent years due to the negative environmental and economic impacts; but could a key solution lie in the overturning our negative perceptions of the frozen food?

It has been estimated that 88 million tonnes of food produced in the EU each year is wasted across the supply chain from farm to fork. Over half (47 million tonnes) of that is wasted in the home, as EU citizens fail use up staples such as bread, milk, fruit and vegetables before they expire.

The aim of a new Love Food Hate Waste campaign launched last month is to encourage British consumers to use their freezer to reduce the amount they throw away. In particular, the campaign focuses on tackling the 24 million slices of bread thrown away in the UK every day. Using the hashtag #MakeToastNotWaste the campaign highlights that bread will stay fresh longer when frozen, and can be conveniently toasted straight from the freezer without compromising on taste.

Indeed the freezer has potential to play a much bigger role in reducing food waste. In many cases food such as fruit and vegetables can often be as – if not more – nutritious when frozen; so why do we place so much emphasis on buying fresh produce that goes off so quickly?

GlobalData’s recent survey brings attention to the low perceptions consumers have of frozen food compared to fresh. Although frozen food is seen as convenient and good value for money, the majority of consumers globally do not perceive it to be healthy, natural, or fresh.

A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry last year found no consistent differences in the nutritional value of eight different frozen and fresh fruit and vegetables. Yet, in reality, just 10% of consumers associate frozen food as being “healthy,” compared to 45% for fresh food according to GlobalData’s survey.

The challenge for frozen food brands, and indeed government, is to better educate consumers as to the health and sustainability benefits of frozen food to overcome negative perceptions, and drive greater usage of the freezer to reduce food waste.

For more insight and data, visit the GlobalData Report Store – Food Processing Technology is part of GlobalData Plc.