In this interview with Alison Bodor, President and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) discusses category perception in the eyes of American consumers, legislation and the AFFI’s efforts during the past 75 years, on the occasion of this landmark anniversary.
By Dan Orehov.
What are the main challenges associated with frozen foods in the US at present and what is the best strategy to overcome them?
Americans today care more than ever about the food they eat. They want to know who makes it, how it’s made and where it comes from. We need to tell this story for frozen foods. As the frozen food and beverage industry, we need to collectively communicate above all the freshness of frozen in addition to touting the plethora of product offerings – ethnic flavors, organic, vegetarian and unique fruit and vegetable varieties.
Please comment on the perception of frozen food in the eyes of American consumers and on the initiatives by the AFFI taken in this regard.
Based on previous AFFI surveys, we know that American consumers think frozen foods are processed and contain artificial ingredients. AFFI recently helped tell the impressive story of our member companies and the food they make through a new video entitled “Farm to Freezer: The Frozen Food Economy.” The video highlights the farmers who grow fruits and vegetables and the companies who prepare and freeze them at their peak. The three-minute video, available at www.affi.org, follows the vegetables in a chicken pot pie from farm to flash frozen and highlights the way farmers’ fresh crops are “paused” at their peak, preserving all nutrients and flavor.
We also know that consumers think fresh fruits and vegetables are the best for them from a nutrition standpoint. To help dispel that misconception, AFFI’s Frozen Food Foundation-commissioned a nutritional study conducted by the University of Georgia (UGA), which was recently published in Elsevier’s Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
Research results reveal that frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh-stored produce. Specifically, the “market basket” study by UGA found the amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and folates in several frozen fruits and vegetables are actually greater than their fresh-stored counterparts. Utilizing this research, AFFI is encouraging consumers and policy makers alike to take a fresh look at frozen.
The complete version of this interview is available in the July-August print issue of Frozen Food Europe.