Do processed foods offer any benefits?
Food processing makes many foods available that we could not otherwise eat. Without food processing we certainly would not have the large variety of food products we see on supermarket and store shelves. Food processing enables the year-round availability of foods that have limited growing seasons. Frozen and canned fruits, vegetables and meat products are examples.
Processing extends the shelf life of foods. Tinned fish and UHT milk are two examples of nutritious foods that are readily available as a result of food processing.
Processing also improves food safety by a variety of methods– for example, heating to sufficiently high temperatures destroys harmful bacteria; certain additives help prevent fats going off (rancid) and prevent the growth of harmful fungus and bacteria; packaging helps to prevent product tampering.
Convenience is another major benefit of foods that have been processed. Imagine not having frozen food or tinned vegetables for that quick and easy Sunday dinner.