I don’t know how our family would function without frozen foods. We pull out frozen food products regularly to help make dinner, breakfast or after school snacks. I know our family is not alone in this. In its Patent Perspectives: Frozen Food report, published February 2017, Mintel discusses recent innovations in freezing technologies that aim to deliver frozen foods with improved nutritional value. Consumers like the convenience of frozen foods, however Mintel research says that people also are concerned about nutritional value.
In a survey of U.S. consumers conducted in 2016, 85 percent agreed that frozen snacks are easy to prepare. However, they also are concerned about the nutritional quality of frozen foods, with 40 percent of consumers stating they think frozen snacks are too high in calories. A separate survey showed that 29 percent of frozen breakfast food consumers agree they would eat more frozen breakfast foods if they were less processed.
According to the report analysts, manufacturers “need to improve consumers’ perception about the nutritional properties of frozen foods. Frozen food manufacturers must continue to innovate or risk losing consumers to other sections of the store.”
In addition to new freezing technologies, manufacturers can select ingredients that will promote the taste, texture and appearance of frozen foods while at the same time contributing positively to a nutritional profile.
Frozen foods present multiple challenges to formulators. The ingredients must not only maintain their integrity during the freezing process but also contribute to final product taste, texture and appearance during preparation, which often means microwave heating.
Egg ingredients work well within a frozen environment and maintain integrity during microwave preparation, offering 20-plus beneficial functional properties while appearing simply as “eggs” on the label. This helps speak to the consumer desire for less processed foods. In addition, one large egg contains six grams of high-quality protein, contributing to a nutritious breakfast or snack food. Mixed with a variety of vegetables, paired with any number or flavor of cheeses, perched atop a whole grain roll or baked good, eggs can help create successful frozen food products.