13/04/2017 10:06 BST | Updated 13/04/2017 10:06 BST

Why It's Time To Rethink Frozen Food

For many families, the freezer has become a place of storage as much as it has a means of preserving food. Boxes full of processed meat covered in orange breadcrumbs. The odd chicken breast that fell out of a multi-pack. The token packet of frozen peas.

Research shows the average family freezer has £50 of food lying uneaten and, even though three in four freezers are full, only 18% of us cook a meal using items stored in their freezer more than three times a week.

The issue, of course, is not the freezer - it's what we put in it. There is a perception that our own domestic freezers are reserved for items bought in those dark, unwelcoming supermarket aisles. You know, the ones where you can't even see what's behind the door because the last mindless shopper left the door ajar.

But frozen food doesn't have to come from the supermarket, it doesn't have to be full of preservatives and it certainly doesn't have to be covered in breadcrumbs. In fact, in many cases it can be fresher than the contents of your fridge - using nature's own way of preserving to lock in the goodness.

In the modern world, where there are so many competing interests on people's time, the freezer is the secret weapon in a family kitchen. If we use our freezers to their full potential, we could all save time, eat better and cut food waste too.

Consider this: Up to 8.4 million families in the UK struggle to put food on the table but 7.3 million tonnes of food waste ends up in landfills each year. Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) figures show food waste is on the increase and it costs the average family £700 per year. From vegetables and sauces, to wholesome meals for the whole family, buying frozen can cut waste without compromising on quality - sounds simple doesn't it? But too many of us aren't doing it.

The freezer should be used to preserve good, wholesome, nutritious meals and ingredients, not as a long-term storage box for processed food. For some, this means cooking homemade meals and freezing them. For others, with less spare time, it means buying good quality food for the freezer. Either way, it's clear the supermarket isn't the only option.

We live in an age where you can buy virtually anything online, without compromising on quality - including pre-prepared, freshly cooked food, delivered frozen directly to your home. Even if you don't have time to cook your own, you can still have a freezer full of meals, as good as homemade, with no mess, no waste, no time in the kitchen and best of all, no sign of orange breadcrumbs.

Let's banish the notion that freezers are for emergency dinners, because frozen meals don't have to be full of nasties. It's time to rethink frozen food.