News Release

Frozen meal eaters have better intakes of key nutrients for fewer calories than QSR eaters

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Ketchum New York

Frozen Meal vs. QSR

image: Data indicate that people who report eating frozen meals over QSRs have a higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score, eat fewer calories per day as well as lower amounts of saturated fat. view more 

Credit: Nestlé USA

ATLANTA (October 20, 2014) – New data presented today indicate that consumers of frozen meals (1) had higher daily intakes of dietary fiber, potassium, calcium and protein, and lower daily intakes of calories and saturated fat than consumers of quick service restaurant (QSR) meals (2). The poster, Consumption of Frozen Meals as Compared to Quick Service Restaurant Meals is Associated with Better Nutrient Intakes in Adult Participants of The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2010), was presented at the 2014 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (3).

"The analysis shows adults (19+ years) who reported eating frozen meals have higher daily intakes of more than 12 important nutrients – including protein, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, choline, magnesium and copper – than those who reported eating quick service restaurant meals, and they do it with 253 fewer calories and 2.6 grams less saturated fat a day," said Dr. Victor L. Fulgoni, co-author of the analysis and vice president of Nutrition Impact, LLC.

Those who Report Dining on Frozen Meals Eat Less Calories and Get More Essential Nutrients

Specifically, the analysis revealed that frozen meal consumers, compared to QSR consumers:

  • Eat 253 fewer calories a day
  • Eat less saturated fat per day (2.6 grams less saturated fat per day)
  • Have higher daily intakes of three of the four nutrients the Dietary Guidelines recommends increasing including:
    • 3.9 more grams (16 percent of the daily value) of dietary fiber (18.2±0.5 g/d frozen meal consumers vs 14.3±0.2 g/d QSR consumers); that's as much fiber as one cup of cooked, instant oatmeal
    • 511 more mg (15 percent of the daily value) of potassium (3008±63 mg/d frozen meal consumers vs 2497±20 mg/d QSR consumers); that's as much potassium as a medium banana
    • 135 more mg (14 percent of the daily value) of calcium (1059±43 mg/d frozen meal consumers vs 924±11 mg/d QSR consumers); that's nearly as much calcium as half a cup of milk
  • Have higher daily protein intakes (90.0±2.2 g/d frozen meal consumers vs 81.5±0.5 g/d QSR consumers) with 8.5 more grams of protein a day; that's as much protein as 1.5 eggs

"This research is further evidence that frozen meals can play an important role in helping Americans obtain key nutrients of concern highlighted in the US Dietary Guidelines while maintaining calorie and fat levels," said Kim Krumhar, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor – Nutrition, Nestlé.

Frozen Meals Are Associated with Better Diet Quality

This abstract is a follow-up to data, Consumption of frozen meals as compared to quick service restaurant meals is associated with better diet quality in adult participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2010), presented at the 2014 Experimental Biology Conference which indicated that people who reported eating frozen meals over QSR have better diet quality and come closer to meeting the Dietary Guidelines recommendations for fruits, vegetables, dark green and orange vegetables, greens and beans, whole grains, and total protein foods.


About Nestlé USA

As the world's leading nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestlé is committed to working with nutrition, health and wellness professionals to help consumers enjoy meals they love while also meeting US Dietary Guidelines. Balance Your Plate with Nestlé is an educational program that highlights the important role frozen prepared foods can play in helping Americans meet US Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate recommendations for healthy eating patterns. Frozen, ready-made entrées are a source of pride for Nestlé. They are freshly made and simply frozen. Nestlé cooks prepare a wide variety of frozen dishes with care, making key ingredients – like pasta for our iconic lasagna or macaroni and cheese – from scratch. Then the food is frozen to help lock in nutrients and provide convenience for easy enjoyment at home or at work. The company also works continually to improve the nutritional profiles of its products by featuring positive nutrients such as whole grains, calcium, Omega-3s and antioxidants and by reducing nutrients like fat and sodium. A variety of Balance Your Plate resources and tools for health professionals can be found at

The study was supported by Nestlé USA. For more information and links to the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo scientific abstracts, please visit

About the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo

Each fall, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors the world's largest meeting of food and nutrition experts — more than 10,000 registered dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health-care providers and industry leaders attend the annual meeting — and address key issues affecting the health of all Americans. The annual the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) features more than 100 research and educational presentations, lectures, debates, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations. More than 400 exhibitors from corporations, government and nonprofit agencies showcase new consumer food products and nutrition education materials.

(1) Defined consumption of any of 91 specific frozen meals

(2) Defined as obtaining meals from "restaurant fast food/pizza"

(3) What We Eat In America (WWEIA)/NHANES (2003-2010) data were used to determine associations between nutrient intake in adult (19+yrs) frozen meal consumers as compared to consumers of meals from quick service restaurants. Intake was determined using a 24 hour recall. The NHANES is a cross-sectional study, and the data cannot be used to draw causal relationships. A nutritionally balanced diet and regular exercise are keys to a healthy lifestyle.

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