Frozen Food: Your Budget's Best Friend Frozen Food Week


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Frozen Food: Your Budget’s Best Friend

In today’s tough economic environment, cutting spending whilst still being able to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals is a top priority for all of us. Buying frozen food over more expensive alternatives, such as fresh, can help you to maximise your food budget without compromising on quality and taste.

In February 2023, Which? captured the prices of own-brand fresh and frozen products across eight popular food categories from Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose. The items compared included many fresh and frozen favourites, such as meat feast pizzas, chips, raspberries and broccoli. The comparative prices showed that consumers can achieve savings of up to 86% when by buying frozen food over fresh!

You might be wondering how frozen food can make you substantial savings compared to fresh food if the quality and taste is just as good, so we’re here to explain why.

Why Frozen Food Keeps Your Costs Down
There’s a common belief that frozen food is lower in quality and less tasty than alternatives because of its cheaper price tag. However, this is actually a misconception, and it’s worth debunking.

1. Reduced Transportation Costs: Frozen food doesn’t require costly air freight or expedited shipping. Its extended shelf life means it can travel by more economical means, keeping prices down. Fresh food, on the other hand, is highly perishable. This means costly transportation methods must be used for swift delivery to its end destination

2. Less Food Spoilage: Fresh food is notorious for its short shelf life. In fact, the most thrown away food group in the UK is fresh vegetables and salad, making up 28% of edible food waste. Frozen food stays edible for much longer, drastically reducing the likelihood of food spoilage and waste. Producers and retailers must account for food potentially becoming damaged or spoiled before being sold, meaning fresh food has a notably higher markup than frozen.

3. Seasonality: Many fruits and vegetables have limited growing seasons. If a food is out of season in one area, it needs to be transported from an area where it is in season. This adds to the price of fresh food due to the additional fuel, labour and import regulation costs. Frozen food, on the other hand, is frozen in bulk immediately after harvest. This means it is available all year round without the addition of costly off-season imports or long-distance transportation.

Budget-Savvy Shopping Strategies
Substituting fresh items on your shopping list for frozen food is a budget-savvy choice in itself, but we have many more meal planning and shopping tips that can help you stretch your budget even further:

1. Shop Smart: Keep an eye out for promotions and discounts on those frozen staples you regularly eat. You can often find great deals in the frozen aisle, from multibuys to meal deals. Planning your meals based on what’s on sale can save you up to £520 a year! So, stock up on your fave frozen foods when prices are low to save big in the long term, without worrying about spoilage.

2. Versatility: Frozen food isn’t just about ready-made meals like chicken nuggets and chips. The frozen aisle is much more versatile, offering frozen ingredients such as diced onions, chopped garlic and sliced apples. Whether you need veggies for a delicious stir-fry or berries for a juicy smoothie, you can find them in the frozen aisle, all whilst staying within your budget.

3. Meal Prep: Spend some time in the evenings or at the weekend preparing meals in advance. Cook up a big batch of chili for example, using frozen ingredients where possible, then freeze individual portions for quick, cost-effective weekday meals. Remember to label your freezer-safe containers to prevent food getting forgotten about and to make sure you use what you have before buying more.

Budget-Friendly Frozen Food Recipes
From hearty stews to delicious desserts, frozen food will help you make tasty, nutritious meals that don’t break the bank. To get you started, here’s a few recipe ideas:

Veggie-Packed Stir-Fry: Toss a medley of frozen veggies (like onion, broccoli, baby sweetcorn, and peppers) into a sizzling pan with some soy sauce and your choice of meat or meat alternative. Add some frozen herbs and spices for extra flavour and serve over rice or noodles for a quick and healthy meal.

Frozen Fruit Smoothies: Blend a mixture of frozen fruits with yogurt or milk for a refreshing, budget-friendly snack. Whether you prefer tropical mango and pineapple or a blast of berries and bananas, you can find a wide range of fruit in the frozen aisle.

Pizza Night: Top a frozen pizza crust with your favorite frozen veggies, meats, cheese, and sauce for an easy, fun and affordable pizza night. Feeling adventurous? Throw in some frozen seafood like prawns or why not add some pineapple to your pizza…

‘Picky-Tea’: If you’re not up to preparing a home-made dinner (we get it, sometimes you just want to pop something in the oven and unwind on the sofa), then frozen options are great for a ‘picky-tea’. The frozen aisle offers a wide variety of tasty, budget-friendly small bites for those laid-back evenings. Vegetable samosas, gooey mozzarella sticks, prawn skewers and flavourful chicken gyozas are just a few examples of what the frozen aisle can offer to jazz up your dinner.

By making the most of frozen food’s versatility and cost-saving benefits, you can enjoy delicious, nutritious meals without stretching your budget.



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