Storing frozen food at -15°C, instead of the standard -18°C (zero degrees Fahrenheit), could reduce freezer energy consumption by more than 10% without any noticeable impact on its safety, texture, taste or nutrition, a new study has unveiled.
Nomad Foods teamed up with food science and technology organisation, Campden BRI to conduct the six-month long study.
Stéfan Descheemaeker, Nomad Foods’ chief executive officer said, "This new pilot study with Campden BRI shows that we have the potential to significantly reduce energy use when storing frozen products, without reformulating.
"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."
Peter Headridge, CEO at Campden BRI added, "Campden BRI was able to support Nomad Foods in this visionary project because we cover a broad range of disciplines relevant to the global food and drink industry.
"We have 250 scientists, many of whom are experts in their fields enabling us to develop world changing solutions that support companies in their strategic endeavours."
In the pilot phase, nine products were tested, including poultry, coated fish, natural fish, vegetables, plant based items and pizza.
The study tested the impact four temperatures (ranging between -18°C to -9°C) in eight key areas, including food safety, texture, nutrition, energy use and packaging.
There was no significant change in the products across the areas tested at any of these temperatures, except mixed vegetables at -9°C and salmon fillets at -12°C.
Some impact was also seen on Vitamin C for vegetable products when stored at -9°C.
According to estimates from Campden BRI, for every 3°C increase in temperature there is a drop in freezer energy consumption of 10% - 11%.
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. [...]"