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NZ consumers might switch to frozen produce to save on expenses

In New Zealand, fresh fruit and vegetable prices have increased rapidly in recent months. In February, they were up 17% compared to the same time a year earlier, driven by the price of tomatoes, broccoli and iceberg lettuces. In fact, fruit and vegetable inflation rose to an annual rate of 18% in March before dropping to 9.4% in April.

In contrast, frozen fruit and vegetables are available year-round and are not subject to the same seasonal variation. Stats NZ’s Food Price Index showed the price of a kilogram of frozen vegetables stayed between $3 and $4 for the last 20 years.

Project lead for Love Food Hate Waste Gel Mathel Lim said it was typically cheaper to opt for frozen fruit and veg over fresh, especially during winter when bad weather and cold temperatures could push the price of produce up. “The cheaper cost often comes down to the ability to harvest, store, and transport the frozen fruit and vegetables which can be done on a larger scale, and with less time pressure to get the produce to supermarket shelves compared to fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said. Using frozen instead of fresh also minimised food wastage, therefore saving consumers' money in the long run, she added.

Registered nutritionist Claire Turnbull agreed frozen fruit and vegetables were just as good as fresh and were “much more affordable”. “There are such good varieties of frozen fruit and veg these days, there’s something that will work well in every dish.”



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