Why Canned Food Has Just As Many Nutrients As The Fresh Stuff

Why Canned Food Has Just As Many Nutrients As The Fresh Stuff

Canned fruits and vegetables have a reputation for not being as packed with nutrients as their fresh counterparts. However, as an article in the New York Times points out, by the time that produce actually reaches you, both canned and fresh are on pretty equal footing.

Picture: Romana Klee/Shutterstock

In fact, canned fruits and vegetables sometimes retain more of their nutrients than fresh produce. While freshly picked fruits and vegetables start with more vitamins, by the time they’re shipped, packed and end up in your shopping basket, they’ve lost some of their lustre:

Canned produce can lose some of its nutritional value as well, particularly water-soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C. But over all, the nutrients in canned fruits and vegetables tend to be relatively stable because they are protected from the deteriorating effects of oxygen, a fact emphasised in an extensive report on the subject published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture by researchers at the University of California, Davis.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables usually lose nutrients more rapidly than canned or frozen products,” the researchers wrote. “Losses of nutrients during fresh storage may be more substantial than consumers realize” and may not be reflected on nutrition labels.

Of course, both fresh produce and canned produce are still healthy, and either option is better than nothing.

Really? The Claim: Fresh Produce Has More Nutrients Than Canned [New York Times]


  • Canned Fruits have looked ok to me I have noticed some brands look more appealing when you open the tin and it is coated with a white stable coating which appears sensible to me, some tins when opened are the plain tin plating , which the contents should be decanted straight away, sliced fruits are my choice, and are often cheaper than a bag of the original

  • Don’t think for a moment that caned foods and fresh foods are comparable, at least not here in Australia.

    Most canned foods in Australia have a tin that is lined with plastic – a plastic that contains Bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical leaches into the food after canning.

    Exposure to BPA is linked with serious health problems. If you’re interested then Choice has a good article on it.

  • Tinned I’m not convinced on.

    But Fresh-v-Frozen…. I’ve often thought that veges that are picked, processed, packed and snap-frozen within hours (often on farm) would be much “fresher” and “gooder” than the same veges picked side-by-side from the same field on the same day that then sat around in the supply chain for 1-2 weeks before I buy them from the local Woolies/Coles.

    Seems counter intuitive, but I reckon I’m right.

    * yes I realise that going to a farmers market where things are delivered fresh daily… blah blah blah… but that’s not the world most of us live in… the fact is they reason Woolies/Coles are so freakin BIG is because the sheer weight of numbers of us folk that buy all our “stuff” from them day-in-day-out, week to week, year to year.

    • I completely agree, often frozen foods are more “fresh”. However the process of freezing it breaks down the proteins and could potentially lower it’s nutritional value or lessen the amount of vitamins our body can process.

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