The rise in fresh-cut, pre-prepared fruit and vegetables is a blessing to the general public, especially those with disabilities, but many criticize the use of fresh-cut produce as ‘lazy cooking’.
The Office for National Statistics has added ready-made mashed potato to the basket of goods and services for the UK, a group of commonly purchased items by the general public which is used to measure inflation over the years. Other products such as ready-made cauliflower steaks and pre-diced onions have also seen a dramatic increase in demand as consumers add them to their shopping baskets. However, some critics have labelled the used of fresh-cut fruit and veg as ‘lazy’, despite the clear benefits to people who cannot easily prepare food.
13.3 million people in Britain live with a disability, not to mention the millions living with chronic illness, arthritis, those recovering from surgery or undergoing cancer treatments. For these people, pre-prepared produce can be essential to maintaining a healthy, varied diet. Vegetables such as butternut squash and pumpkin can seem impenetrable to people with chronic fatigue or arthritis and the slightly inflated price of pre-chopped vegetables can mean the difference between eating ready meals and eating nutritious fresh food.
Those particularly at risk are people going through chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy can cause severe fatigue, nausea and lack of appetite, and patients regularly rely on pre-prepared food to maintain their weight – an essential factor in chemotherapy success. Pre-chopped fruits and vegetables allow many disabled people and people going through treatment to stay away from ready meals and to enjoy the bonding experiences and nutritional benefits that home cooking can bring. With fresh-cut produce, home cooking has become easier and more accessible. Cooks can still produce delicious recipes, with fresh-cut produce eliminating the need to chop tough fruit and vegetables.
With many people now working longer hours, looking after children or juggling multiple jobs, fresh-cut produce reduces the amount of time needed to be spent in the kitchen, an easy step to free up time in people’s busy lives. It also helps move the population away from unhealthy ready meals or takeaways. For millions of people across the country, convenience matters, and in a country where obesity is on the rise, criticising people as ‘lazy’ for using fresh-cut produce is nonsensical.
Much of the outcry about pre-prepared food has fallen at the door of the plastic it is packaged in, but this is not the fault of the pre-prepared food itself. Pre-prepared food can easily be stored using different methods, albeit at a slightly higher cost, but this requires a culture change in the UK and not a raft of criticism against the people buying pre-chopped vegetables.
M&P Engineering is one of the world’s leading providers of food processing equipment, including its industry-leading onion peeling machine. M&P’s carousel grid cutting machine is new to the market and can cut up to 4,800 pieces of vegetables and fruit per hour into fries, batons, wedges, petals or slices.
M&P Engineering also furnishes the world food processing market with food depositing machines, rotary transfer units, sachet filling machines, shallot peeling machines and other onion processing equipment. Its world famous large onion peeling machine tops and tails onions before peeling them with a water-free process, leaving no waste slurry.
To find out more about M&P Engineering’s food processing machinery, click here or call on +44 (0) 161 872 8378.