Generic Vs Name Brand Frozen Vegetables: Is There A Difference?

When you're shopping at the grocery store, it's not always easy to know what you're getting, where it's coming from, and which choices are best for your wallet, your health, and your taste buds. But when it comes to buying frozen vegetables, it's important to know that there is not much of a difference between the name-brand product and the generic in-store grocery brand on the freezer shelf. If you're comparing two brand options for frozen vegetables, the main difference is simply how they're packaged and labeled, and not so much the veggies themselves.

Name brands cost more not necessarily because they're higher quality, but often because expenses like marketing and advertising are factored into the price. Since frozen produce is one of those food categories that tend to be similar regardless of where it comes from, options in the freezer section likely have the same quality and taste whether you choose name brand or generic.

What to look for when choosing frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are one of the best foods to buy generic. That's because most frozen vegetables (and frozen fruits) are flash frozen at peak freshness — providing a product that's just as high quality and nutritious as fresh produce, but will last longer and cost you less.

That said, even though generic and name-brand frozen vegetables may not differ much, there are still things you'll want to look out for on the package. For example, whether the product is name brand or generic, if it's certified organic it will lack any chemicals or pesticides, making for a higher quality and more tasty product.

You also want to keep an eye out for any other additives on the label; regardless of brand, some can add extra sodium or other unwanted ingredients to the mix, so stick to those that freeze the vegetables without adding anything else. And speaking of freezing, look for vegetables that are specifically flash frozen — those will be freshest and offer the most nutrients.

The best vegetables to buy frozen

While frozen vegetables can often make for a great choice thanks to their quality, affordability, and long shelf life, certain vegetables are better in frozen form ... not just better than other frozen vegetables, but often even better than their fresh counterparts.

Green peas are a great vegetable to buy frozen because they're locked in at peak maturity; they're often not available in fresh form, and when they are, their quality tends to be diminished due to importing and time passed after harvest. Similarly, other more seasonal vegetables such as corn, butternut squash, and lima beans all taste just as good frozen and will be ready to eat year-round, and it always pays to buy artichoke hearts frozen.

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are also a great choice to buy frozen thanks to their versatility, and these hearty vegetables can be even easier to prepare when frozen. And lastly, it makes a ton of sense to grab frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones that tend to spoil quickly, like spinach, okra, and green beans.