Frozen is the new fresh
The impact of the lockdown on dietary patterns has been immense; the biggest change being how people now procure their daily essential items.
According to the latest report by the market research company, IMARC, the frozen food industry in India is spreading its wings and is expected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17 per cent between 2019-2024.
Founder and CEO Deepanshu Manchanda of Zappfresh, a fresh meat brand of DSM Fresh Foods Pvt. Ltd. located in Gurgaon, has observed a new pattern in consumers’ psychology.
The offline base – those who purchased meat from shops – is now switching to online platforms.
“This was a significant factor in catalysing our sales in the lockdown. The entire pattern is steered by the concern for high hygiene and quality standards.”
Though the economy witnessed a plunge, the frozen food sector saw an upward growth, if experts are to be believed.
India Director Atul Khanna of Global Cold Chain Alliance, a body promoting cold chains, admits to noticing a shift towards frozen food, but in the initial days, transportation was a huge challenge in the cities and at the ports.
“Even when the ports were opened and the government eased transportation rules, there was no staff to handle the food,” says Khanna. However, one major advantage of frozen food, he says, is that it comes from branded companies, whether India or abroad.
“So, there is a best before date and the packets are properly labelled. The other assurance is that when the food is frozen it preserves its nutrition value and the goodness of poultry and other frozen items too.”
Given the concerns and doubts regarding the vendors and the source of the fresh meat, an increasing number of chefs now prefer frozen poultry and meat. “Frozen meat is a hit in the commercial kitchens.
It has an equal nutritional quotient as the fresh meat and is comparatively more hygienic because of the layers of packaging and food safety tests it undergoes and FSSAI guidelines that it follows. Experiencing absolutely no difference in taste or quality of the chicken, I’d rather recommend frozen meats as these are hygienic and of fine quality.
“Another factor that instilled our faith in frozen meats is the gel pack that comes with it, which ensures the apt temperature maintenance,” says Celebrity Chef Sabyasachi Gorai.
Very few in the F&B industry actually practice the concept of farm-to-table now, feels Celebrity Chef Varun Inamdar.
“While I profess the use of fresh produce, meats in frozen form come to you after undergoing correct handling practices which are much more stringent than any local butcher. My favourite is US Poultry. I have eaten and been to their processing plants in Atlanta, and I believe they precisely monitor their integrated systems that produce and ship the best poultry in the world.”
There a misconception about the nutritive value of frozen meat, shares nutritionist Ishi Khosla. “The nutritional value of the frozen meat doesn’t vary much from any other food item.
When cooked under the right temperature for an advised amount of time, the meat is observed to retain its nutritional values.
All the chicken requires is for the consumer to thaw it right before cooking and eat it right after it’s cooked. Also, while freezing the meat, make sure to wrap it in an air-tight packaging or heavily with foil to prevent any loss of healthy components.”
In conclusion, nutritionist Kavita Devgan advices that “While buying frozen products, be sure of the quality of the products and do your research before purchasing a product.”
Source : newindianexpress