The Proud Heritage of Frozen Foods

Humans have been utilizing freezing as a means of safely preserving food for thousands of years. However, it took the technological genius of Clarence Birdseye in the 1920s to harness the preserving power of freezing food by making the process practical. Birdseye’s development of the double-belt freezer recreated nature’s freezing process and expanded its potential by moving it beyond the limits of climate and season. Building on this ability to freeze food anywhere, any time of year, Birdseye introduced the first line of frozen foods for sale to the public in 1930 and the frozen food industry was born.

The popularity of frozen foods grew slowly, assisted by the development of better home refrigerators and freezers, improved refrigerated transport, the shortage of tin in World War II and an ever-expanding product line that included such marketable items as frozen concentrated orange juice. In the 1950’s, a milestone industry step was taken with the introduction of the TV dinner. This development not only capitalized on the growing American fascination with television, but introduced the convenience of the complete meal in a quick and easy to prepare frozen form.

Over the past 50 years, as the amount of time Americans spent in meal preparation has steadily declined, frozen foods have remained a convenient staple, adapting its packaging and products to better accommodate new developments, such as the microwave oven. But convenience is not the only benefit frozen foods have to offer. Health conscious Americans have discovered the nutritional advantages of frozen vegetables and fruits to be easy-to-use key components to a healthy family menu. Waistline watchers have found a friend in the numerous low-fat frozen food offerings, while the economically conscious continue to value the diversity of frozen food possibilities that tempt the taste buds without breaking the bank.

The frozen food industry was founded on the principle of the safe preservation of healthy food. Today’s frozen food companies seek to remain true to that proud heritage while adapting to the emerging needs of the American consumer, now and in the future.