July 19, 2018
Frozen Food and the Environment

Supermarket Buying Guide: Frozen Entrees

Frozen Food and the Environment

by Edward R. Blonz, Ph.D.  

Single-serving frozen entrées may be fast and convenient but they also require more packaging, which is bad news for the environment. While a packaged meal can be consumed in minutes and the wrappings tossed in the trash, the coated paperboard or plastic trays can remain in landfills for decades or even centuries.

Several companies have addressed such environmental concerns by making changes in their packaging, including the use of lighter materials, 100 percent recycled material and green technology that allows meals to be heated, served and eaten from the package. The most environmentally unfriendly frozen entrée packages are those that have a plastic tray covered in plastic wrap and are packed in a plastic-coated box. Limit your use if want to eat green.

What about organic frozen dinners? Surely they are better for the environment than non-organic—or are they? Though organic foods are grown in more sustainable ways, all the processing, shipping and storage involved wipes out much of the environmental benefit. And the packaging is just as wasteful as that of other frozen dinners. This, unfortunately, is true of many packaged processed organic foods.

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