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Chilled Ready Meals vs Frozen Ready Meals: 4 Facts You Never Knew

Chilled Ready Meals vs Frozen Ready Meals: 4 Facts You Never Knew

Chilled Meals vs Frozen Meals

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Ready meals are a life changer for many. As we get to enjoy more of healthy full-prepared meals, the misinformation about whether to choose a chilled or a frozen meals has only grown larger. Here, we lay out 4 facts you never knew!

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Prepared ready meals go a long way in making our lives easier while helping to enjoy a nutritious and balanced meal.

There are so many options to choose from, in Australia, when it comes to prepared ready meals. Some of them are chilled and some of them are frozen. Today, we are going to dive into three facts that you never knew were true about fully-prepared frozen ready meals.

You’ll find many of the chilled meal providers touting so hard that chilled meals are way better than frozen meals. If that was the case, it often raises the question for our customers – Tasteville being a ready meal manufacturer and retailer, why did we choose to make our meals frozen rather than chilled?

At Tasteville, we thought long and hard about whether to keep our meals chilled or frozen, and below are the facts we hold our meals true to, as we decided along our way.

Fact #1: Frozen Meals are as healthy as Chilled Meals

Australians have come a long way from the frozen TV dinners of ‘Apricot Chicken and Green Peas’ from last century. For us to understand whether a meal is unhealthy, first we need to understand if what goes into them is healthy or unhealthy. Because, in any meal, what we put in, is what we get out. There is no magic pudding there. For us at Tasteville, the whole idea of our meals was about whether we can have a balanced and nutritious meal with all natural ingredients, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Not all meals are suitable for everyone. And having bucket loads of protein while completely ignoring dietary fibre will lead to unexpected health complications. The key here is to have all the macronutrients balanced. Excellent source of fibre in our meals is as important as having them as a good source of protein.

The best benefit of ready meals lies in them being satisfyingly portion-controlled, rather than picking and choosing one macronutrient such a protein, over fat or carbs. Knowing how many serves of veg they have is also a great way to identify, if you are having a healthy meal. Plants by nature are a wholesome force of macronutrients. That is why we have ‘more’ vegan meals in our menu than those that contain meat.

By using great tasting ingredients, Aussie grown Chickpeas, handpicked veggies, and hand-jointed hormone-free aussie chicken for example, we ensure our meals are made healthier than people often think. We even have a different variety of Aussie grown chickpeas that are completely different in texture compared to your regular chickpeas and our Spiced Tyson Chickpeas have been blowing our customers’ minds ever since we introduced it.

Companies that tout ‘Always Fresh, Never Frozen ingredients’ often push this tagline simply to make a muted point, rather than helping customers understand and educate. 

If the ingredients are ‘always fresh’ you will not find any preservatives listed in the ingredients. So, next time you read somewhere, Ready Meals – Always Fresh, Never Frozen, think twice! Check the ingredient list. If it has a preservative, followed by a number, it means the ingredient was not ‘fresh’, it has long gone from being fresh and has been preserved using a preservative.. 

Fact #2: Frozen Meals retain nutritional value longer than Chilled Meals

A myth very often purported by chilled meal companies is that chilled meals are nutritious than frozen meals. Snap-freezing vegetables retain their nutritional value until the moment you want to cut open the package and use them for cooking. Similarly, frozen meals retain their nutritional value till the moment you effect a change in its temperature i.e, warming them up for consumption. 

Chilled meals on the other hand are often stored in the fridge rather than freezer, which is often subject to multiple temperature fluctuations every time you open your fridge and think about what you want to take out. The way a fridge works is that hot air moves in every time you open and close, and the fridge goes to work when you close the door, to bring the temperature back to the recommended temperature storing range of 3° to 5° celsius.

Frozen meals, on the other hand, are entirely different. The moment the meal hits 0° Celsius, it means it is fully frozen. Often the recommended range for storing and transporting is -18° Celsius, so that the temperature doesn’t cross above 0° Celsius. The lower the temperature is, the better it is at preserving the food. 

This means, just by the way they are meant to be stored, these random temperature fluctuations affect chilled meals negatively, compared to frozen meals.

Fact #3: Frozen Meals retain texture exactly like Chilled Meals

Another claim you will often see is that chilled meals retain texture more than frozen meals. Contrary to such claims, most of the texture retention comes from the cooking process rather than the storing process. 

If you cook something longer, the cellular structure in that food breaks down more. And if you cook something for a shorter period of time, the food retains the cellular structure. Without giving it a second thought, even at home, we vary the temperature and the time to achieve the texture we like in our food. 

Fresh cut potatoes are crispier if we bake them longer. Cooking something low and long in a slow cooker makes food softer instead of chewier.

The same applies to ready meals. The texture retention comes more from the cooking, not much from the way it is stored chilled or frozen. Chilled meals can be mushy and bland as well, if enough care is not put into what the customer wants.

Fact #4: Frozen Meals reduce waste significantly unlike Chilled Meals

Chilled meals often have shelf life not more than 3 weeks. From the time they are cooked, by the time they reach your home, they’ve already lost 1 week of shelf life. How many times have you rushed to finish a chilled meal, before it goes bad, or have you thrown away a meal, because they are past their ‘Use By’ date. 

Thinking bigger, if you only know, tons and tons of chilled ready meals go into the rubbish every week in Australia, at the supermarkets and the corner convenience stores, just because they are unsold and that they are past their expiration date, your heart will break. 

We grew up with our moms always reminding us never to waste food. Never ever. By ensuring that our meals are frozen and not chilled, we’ve reduced our meals being thrown away to be almost negligent.

Frozen meals, on the other hand, don’t have a ‘Use By’ Date. Rather they have a ‘Best Before’ date. Most often than not, our customers consume our meals much earlier than the ‘Best Before’ date, at their own pace, rather than rushing to consume it, just because they have to. And, those who have consumed that odd box of our ready meal that was stuck in the freezer past our recommended ‘Best Before’ date, have come back with glowing feedback that our ready meals have tasted so delicious. 

Here at Tasteville, we take pride in the way we do our meals, whether it is the all-natural ingredients we use, or picking the premium choice cut of lamb for our meals. Hundreds of thousands of our customers have enjoyed our meals exactly how they might have it the moment we cooked them. 

And we chose freezing them over chilled meals, because not only that method of preservation is all natural and has worked well forever, but it also helps us and our customers to be more sustainable by reducing food waste big time. 

So, go ahead, get that ice cold pack of our ready into your microwave, knowing very well that it is all good.

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