Frozen entrees have become the go to meal for anyone interested in saving time and money. Unfortunately, they can pack a heavy dose of sodium. A quick look at the prepared frozen foods rated on GoodGuide gave us stats for the following frozen food bubble.
The most important message to take away from this bubble is that it’s slim pickings when it comes to healthy options in the frozen aisle. Before you shut the door on frozen foods thought, know that there is a silver lining to this story. Freezer cases are likely to start displaying healthier fare, but the reasons behind these changes might surprise you.
It turns out that healthier frozen food is being manufactured because grocers are stepping up and saying no to the sodium and sugar-laden frozen meals that have taken over the frozen food aisle. Fresh & Easy markets, for example, has developed a privately labeled line of entrees with relatively high health standards:
“Eatwell entrees, including Chicken Enchiladas, Butternut Squash Ravioli and Kung Pao Chicken, contain no more than 25% of the daily values for calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). Artificial colors, flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and added trans fats are also restricted.”
Lest we conclude that “healthy” translates to “tastes bad,” Fresh & Easy representatives say that sales of Eatwell entrees have outpaced sales of national brands since their January debut. Fans of Whole Foods have reason to cheer too, as the company has informed suppliers that they won’t put high-sodium products in their freezer cases. In fact, the grocer sends back products that exceed 700mg per serving. According to Tom Rich, grocery coordinator for the Rocky Mountain region’s Whole Foods, says “I really like to see [servings] at the 300 mg level and let people add salt to their meal if they want to.”