Before the advent of refrigeration we were limited in the types of food we could store in our homes. Very wealthy families could afford to have a dedicated ice house but these were understandably rare and beyond the reach of most people.
The importance of refrigeration
It has been understood for centuries that keeping food cold helps to preserve it. Archaeological discoveries indicate that an ice house was built for the King of Mesopotamia as long ago as 1780 BC, but for the common man and woman it was a case of pickling foods, preserving meat and fish by salting or smoking them, and buying only small quantities of food with each visit to the shops.
The invention of the refrigerator, followed by the freezer, completely transformed the way we shop, store and cook food, opening up a whole world of cuisine that most people could never have dreamed of.
In fact, the Mail Online published the results of a survey amongst scientists which put refrigeration at the top of a list of innovations that have had the most impact upon our food and drink.
With the assistance of refrigeration, most of us are now able to store a wider range of foods than at any previous time in history, leading to a more nutritious – and more varied – diet than was possible for previous generations.
The global supermarket
Before fridges and freezers became so commonplace people tended to shop at local stores which were mainly stocked with locally produced meat, fruit and vegetables. Foods were seasonal, meaning that some produce was only available at certain times of the year, which forced consumers to eat a fairly restricted diet.
Thanks to commercial refrigeration produce is now routinely sourced from around the world, meaning that supermarkets stock a huge variety of produce throughout the year, with no need to take seasonal changes into account.
At the same time, commercial fridge freezers have allowed catering establishments to store foods in a more cost-effective way, resulting in an explosion of restaurants and eateries, from the most humble mobile catering van through to fine dining establishments, many of which cater for huge numbers of customers every day. But who cater for the caterers? With the rise in eateries Catering suppliers like https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk and Fridge Freezer Direct ltd have sprung up in response to consumer demand for large commercial fridge freezers and other catering equipment that can cope with the volume of foods to be stored.
Now technology is poised to make another dramatic leap forward as our fridges and freezers look poised to begin a whole new interactive process with us. In a recent blog post for The Guardian Jason Nathan discusses the ‘internet of things’, reporting that the technology company LG has developed a prototype fridge that not only records its contents, but also has the capability to monitor their freshness.
It seems that before long our fridges and freezers will help us to plan our shopping lists, even potentially communicating with our smartphones so that we don’t forget anything on our next trip to the supermarket!