Nomad Foods’ pilot study shows increasing freezer temperatures saves energy

The results of a pilot study to investigate the potential to store frozen food at higher temperatures indicates that storing frozen food at -15oC, instead of the industry standard -18oC (zero degrees Fahrenheit) could reduce freezer energy consumption by more than 10% without any noticeable impact on product safety, texture, taste or nutrition of the frozen food products.

The unique study, conducted by Nomad Foods – the company behind some of Europe’s best loved frozen food brands including Birds Eye, Findus, and iglo – over six months with leading food science and technology organisation, Campden BRI, had nine products tested including poultry, coated fish, natural fish, vegetables, plant based and pizza.

Four temperatures (ranging from -18oC up to -9oC) and eight key areas including food safety, texture, nutrition, energy use and packaging impact were tested.

Results showed no significant change to the products across the areas tested at any of the higher temperatures with the following exceptions. There was some change in sensory for Mixed Veg at -9oC and Salmon Fillets at -12oC. There was also some impact on Vitamin C for vegetable products when stored at the highest temperature -9oC. Campden BRI also estimates that for every 3oC increase in temperature there is a drop in freezer energy consumption of 10% – 11%.

Nomad Foods’ new study, comes on the back of its industry leading research on the life cycle analysis of frozen food published last year which showed that frozen food performs very well against alternatives in terms of carbon footprint, partly due to much lower levels of food waste.

Stéfan Descheemaeker, Nomad Foods’ chief executive officer, noted  how frozen food is a great choice for consumers and a great choice for the planet as we approach almost 100 years of Clarence Birdseye pioneering frozen food technology.

“This new pilot study with Campden BRI shows that we have the potential to significantly reduce energy use when storing frozen products, without reformulating,”Descheemaeker said. “Delivered at scale, this could revolutionise our industry and deliver substantial energy use and cost reductions for manufacturers, food retailers and consumers and further reduce the carbon footprint of frozen food products. This is not something that we can deliver on our own and so we look forward to sharing our results with trade bodies, retail partners and other key stakeholders to explore opportunities for broader collaboration.”

Emma Hanby associate director at Campden BRI said: “Campden BRI’s unique capabilities have allowed us to undertake a large scale, pilot study working with the experts at Nomad Foods to consider a wide range of parameters that impact the safety and quality of frozen food. Once we had established there were no regulatory or legal barriers in Europe to freezing at higher temperatures, our scientists utilised a combination of analytical, instrumental and sensory panel techniques to generate a robust dataset across a range of Nomad’s products. We have shown that an increase in freezer temperatures to -15oC (from the industry standard of -18oC) reduces energy consumption without any decrease in product safety or quality.”

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