We are all trying to find ways to cut the cost of our food shop - but is frozen really cheaper than fresh?

Food price inflation, which earlier this year rose to its highest rate since 1977, is now at 19.1%.

It means we are all trying to cut costs on our food shop where we can - with many of us swapping up the food we buy and eat, changing where we do our supermarket shop, or hunting for yellow sticker items.

One common suggestion to help you cut costs is to buy frozen food instead of fresh.

In April of this year, the research and analysis firm Kantar reported that frozen food was outperforming fresh in supermarkets.

According to Kantar's data, demand was strongest for items such as frozen chicken, where volumes were up 5.9%.

Meanwhile, frozen prepared foods, including ready meals, pizzas and chips were up 2.6%.

The analysis firm said this was "clearly" down to households trying to cut back due to the cost of living.

But how much does that really save? - Mirror Money has decided to put this to the test.

Fresh vs frozen food - which is cheaper?

To work this out, we have compiled together a list of some of the most popular frozen food items in the UK according to our research and compared it to fresh alternatives of the product.

We have also used prices from Tesco as this is the biggest UK supermarket - the prices for these products were correct as of June 1 2023.

Fish fillets - fresh: Tesco 2 Boneless Cod Fillets 280G - £5.25 (£18.75kg per kg) frozen: Tesco Cod Fillets 360G - £4.00 (£11.11kg per kg)

Margarita pizza - fresh: Tesco Stonebaked Margherita Pizza 252G £3.50 ( £13.90 per kg) - frozen: Tesco Stonebaked Thin Four Cheese Pizza 330G £1.65 (£5.00 per kg)

Pork sausages - fresh: Tesco 12 Pork Sausages 681G - £3.40 (£4.99 per kg) frozen: Tesco 20 Pork Sausages 900G - £2.90 (£3.22 per kg)

Chicken breast - fresh: Tesco British Chicken Breast Portions 650G - £4.75 (£7.31 per kg) frozen: Tesco Chicken Breast Fillets 640G - £4.10 (£6.41 per kg)

Breaded chicken - fresh: Tesco 4 Breaded Chicken Steaks 505G - £3.60 (£7.13 per kg) frozen: Tesco 4 Breaded Chicken Steaks 380G - £2.00 (£5.26 per kg)

Broccoli - fresh: Tesco Broccoli 375G - 72p (£1.92 per kg) frozen: Tesco Broccoli Florets 900G - £1.25 (£1.39 per kg)

Roast potatoes - fresh: Tesco Seasoned Roast Potatoes 800G - £2.00 (£2.50 per kg) frozen: Tesco Roast Potatoes 800G - 76p (95p per kg)

Strawberries - fresh: Tesco Strawberries 400G - £2.30 (£5.75 per kg) frozen: Tesco Frozen Whole Strawberries 350G - £2.50 (£7.14 per kg)

Overall cost:

  • Fresh: £25.52 (overall "per kg" price - £62.25)
  • Frozen: £19.16 (overall "per kg" price - £40.48)
  • Difference: £6.36 (£21.77)

So according to our unofficial scientific study - buying frozen is certainly much cheaper than buying fresh - particularly if you compare the per kg prices.

If you are trying to cut back on food costs, swapping to frozen could be a good option - however, you should also consider that some foods are not always available as a frozen option.

Is frozen food more expensive to cook?

There is not much of a difference in the cost of cooking frozen food compared to fresh - but it will usually be just a few pence.

When it comes to cooking, the longer you need to cook it the more expensive it is going to be.

The cost of cooking will also depend on your model of oven and your hob too - there is typically a label which explains the energy usage on your appliance.

It is usually expressed in watts or “W” used per hour (kWh).

However, for an easy example, we have worked out the cost to cook a margarita pizza from fresh and from frozen.

So for Tesco's stonebaked four cheese frozen pizza, it takes 12 minutes to cook in an oven whilst Tesco's fresh Margherita Pizza takes nine minutes.

The average UK electric oven has a power rating of 2500W or 2.5 kilowatts an hour (kW) and the calculations have been made using the current cost of electricity under the Government's Energy Price Guarantee.

According to calculations by Uswitch, the frozen pizza will cost around 17p to cook whilst the fresh one will cost 12p - you will need to add on an extra 4p to each to include the oven's three-minute warmup time.

Overall the frozen pizza will cost around 21p to cook whilst the fresh pizza will cost slightly less at 18p.

So like we said before, the difference is only a few pence - but if you are counting the pennies this is good information to know.

2023-06-03T06:07:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd