Are frozen vegetables and fruits less nutritious than fresh ones?

In this brief article, we will address the query “Are frozen vegetables and fruits less nutritious than fresh ones?” It will briefly explain what are the effects of freezing in nutritional, shelf-life, and organoleptic properties of vegetables and fruits.

Are frozen vegetables and fruits less nutritious than fresh ones?

Unfortunately yes, freezing can reduce the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables compared to the fresh ones. The vitamins and antioxidant molecules like polyphenols are the most susceptible to be damaged during freezing (1,2).

Nonetheless, frozen vegetables and fruits just lose a slight proportion (about 15 %) of its hydrophilic vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C, and polyphenols (1,2). 

Moreover, different vegetables are more susceptible than others, for example, Li et al. (2) found that broccoli, spinach, and blueberries are more likely to lose vitamin C than strawberries and cauliflowers; in the case folate, only broccoli showed a significant loss of this vitamin.

Does freezing reduce vitamins of vegetables and fruits?

There is controversy among the scientific community and food scientists if freezing actually reduces vitamins in frozen vegetables and fruits. Vitamins and antioxidants like polyphenols are very sensitive molecules, especially against light, oxygen, and high temperatures (3).

Bernás and Jaworska (3) state that storage time in the freezer is the factor that could reduce vitamins in vegetables and fruits, due to oxidation processes. 

Another possible mechanism for the loss of vitamins is that most of them get trapped within the ice crystals during freezing. Therefore, when vegetables and fruits are unfrozen, the vitamins are leaked with that water (4).

What are the benefits of frozen vegetables and fruits?

The main benefit of frozen vegetables and fruits is the long shelf life. Frozen vegetables and fruits can be good for up to 12 months, however, the degradation of vitamins starts around 6 months of storage (3,4). 

Overall, you can expect the following benefits from frozen vegetables and fruits (5,6,7):

  • Availability of vegetables and fruits during all year.
  • Prevent spoilage or contamination with pathogenic bacteria.
  • You will have a good source of valuable nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, selenium, potassium, and zinc available for all year.

Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate useful to prevent constipation, regulate lipids and glucose in blood, and to enhance intestinal health (6).

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients for your health; vitamin C is crucial to have a strong immune system, especially to fight against respiratory diseases. On the other hand, B vitamins are required for a good metabolism and cognitive development (7).

In the case of minerals, potassium is an essential mineral for maintaining a good hydration, cellular homeostasis, and even muscle contraction (7).

Selenium and zinc are minerals with antioxidant activity; these minerals have an active role in strengthening your immune system and also in growth and development (7).

Hence, with frozen vegetables and fruits, you will have access to healthy nutrients all year.

What are the potential drawbacks of frozen vegetables and fruits?

The potential drawbacks of frozen vegetables are the loss of nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants and also the negative changes of organoleptic properties (1-4). 

During freezing, the water is crystallized within the vegetable tissue, this can cause damage at cellular level. The ice crystals within the fruits and vegetables can trap flavor and pigments, causing negative effects on taste and color of foods (4).

Moreover, the loss of cellular integrity can cause a softer texture, so it is completely normal that frozen vegetables and fruits are softer than the fresh ones (4).

If you don’t like the soft texture of frozen fruits, you can make smoothies to take advantage of them. Milk-based smoothies are an excellent option to add some extra high-quality protein and enjoy the nutritional benefits of frozen fruits (8). 

If you have doubts on the nutritional value of milk, you can follow this link to know more about this valuable food.


In this brief article, we addressed the query “Are frozen vegetables and fruits less nutritious than fresh ones?” It briefly explained what are the effects of freezing in nutritional, shelf-life, and organoleptic properties of vegetables and fruits.


  1. Bulut M, Bayer Ö, Kırtıl E, Bayındırlı A. Effect of freezing rate and storage on the texture and quality parameters of strawberry and green bean frozen in home type freezer. Int J Refrig, 2018;88:360–9.
  1. Li L, Pegg RB, Eitenmiller RR, Chun J-Y, Kerrihard AL. Selected nutrient analyses of fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables. J Food Compost Anal, 2017;59:8–17.
  1. Bernaś E, Jaworska G. Vitamins profile as an indicator of the quality of frozen Agaricus bisporus mushrooms. J Food Compost Anal, 2016;49:1–8.
  1. Li D, Zhu Z, Sun D-W. Effects of freezing on cell structure of fresh cellular food materials: A review. Trends Food Sci Technol, 2018;75:46–55.
  1. Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in nutrition, 2012;3(4): 506-516.
  1. Snauwaert E, Paglialonga F, Vande Walle J, Wan M, Desloovere A, Polderman N, et al. The benefits of dietary fiber: the gastrointestinal tract and beyond. Pediatr Nephrol, 2022.
  1. Godswill AG, Somtochukwu IV, Ikechukwu AO, Kate EC. Health benefits of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and their associated deficiency diseases: A systematic review. International Journal of Food Sciences, 2020;3(1):1–32.
  1. Garcia C, Remize F. Lactic acid fermentation of fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies: Innovation and health aspects. In: Ray RC, Paramithiotis S, de Carvalho Azevedo VA, Montet D, editors. Lactic Acid Bacteria in Food Biotechnology. Elsevier; 2022. p. 27–46.

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