Menu Modeling Finds that Frozen Food Contains 90% of Nutrition Target

By  USDR

A weekly menu consisting primarily of frozen foods meets the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) according to a new white paper released by the American Frozen Food Institute  (AFFI).

“The amount of time Americans are spending preparing meals is steadily decreasing yet people are increasingly searching for reasonably priced, nutritious  foods”

Written by Betsy Hornick, MS, RD, LDN, an Illinois-based food and nutrition communications consultant, the results from menu modeling reveal that realistic, balanced and affordable menus featuring mostly frozen foods can meet energy, nutrient and cost goals based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) 2010 DGAs, USDA’s MyPlate and USDA’s Moderate Cost Food  Plan.

To demonstrate how frozen foods can fit into the American diet, the white paper outlines a menu for one week that is 95 percent comprised of frozen foods. All major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, are well represented throughout the menu. The total cost per week is $59.66 or $8.52 per day, which falls within USDA’s Moderate Cost Food  Plan.

“The amount of time Americans are spending preparing meals is steadily decreasing yet people are increasingly searching for reasonably priced, nutritious foods,” said AFFI Interim President Joe Clayton. “What we found through menu modeling is that Americans can meet all of their requirements—convenience, nutrition and affordability—with items offered in the frozen food  aisle.”

To best evaluate a meal plan that features primarily frozen food, a menu model was developed to bring USDA-recommended food patterns to life and to weigh the affordability, feasibility and nutritional value. A full week of menus were developed to meet the nutritional needs of an adult woman 19-50 years of age based on recommendations from USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, Dietary Reference Intakes and the 2010 DGAs. All meals and snacks not only met nutritional standards, but also met the need for convenience, using prepared frozen foods or simple recipes that included frozen foods. Each menu was reviewed for energy and key nutrients including fat, sodium, fiber, protein and Vitamins A, C and D among  others.

Financial support for the menu modeling was provided by AFFI. The white paper was published as a Today’s Dietitian November 2015 Supplement: “Menu Modeling Demonstrates Feasibility, Nutritional Value and Affordability of Frozen Foods,” and is available here. An infographic illustrating the findings can be found  here.

About the American Frozen Food  Institute

The American Frozen Food Institute is the national trade association that promotes and represents the interests of all segments of the frozen food and beverage community. AFFI works to foster industry development and growth, and advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf. More information can be found at  www.affi.org

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.