Along with being National Nutrition Month, March is also National Frozen Food Month.
Clarence Birdseye found a way to flash-freeze foods and deliver them to the public-one of the most important steps forward taken in the food industry. When he was sent to the Artic to work as a naturalist for the US government, he observed first-hand the ways of the Native Americans who lived there. He saw that a combination of ice, wind and temperature almost instantly froze just-caught fish straight through. More importantly, he discovered that when the fish were cooked and eaten, they were scarcely different in taste and texture.
Brief History of Frozen Foods
§ Birdseye launches retail sales of frozen food products in Springfield, MA.
§ The Birdseye Frosted Foods Co. sells packaged meat, fish, oysters, vegetables and fruit from low temperature display cases in selected stores in the eastern US.
§ Annual frozen food production rises from slightly over 1.5 billion pounds to 2.5 billion pounds.
§ New frozen products are introduced including puff pastries, hors d'oeuvres, soups, entrees, French fries, Mexican cuisine, whipped topping, meat pies and pizza.
§ The Food and Drug Administration gives increasing attention to industry packaging practices and sanitation methods and begins to establish standards for frozen food products.
§ Frozen food sales exceed the $1 billion mark.
§ The introduction of precooked or prepared frozen foods opens up an entirely new field for industry growth.
§ Swanson introduces the first TV dinner.
§ Frozen foods enter the airline market.
§ The microwave oven is introduced.
§ Frozen vegetable mixes become popular.
§ Frozen main courses and entrees take off in popularity.
§ Frozen food sales soar when astronauts return from landing on the moon; eat prepared frozen entrees and side dishes.
§ McDonald's accepts frozen fish portions and meat patties.
§ Frozen stir fry vegetables are introduced.
§ Burger King decides to use frozen meat patties and other products.
§ Cook-in box vegetables and single-serve packages are introduced.
§ Frozen ethic cuisines rise in popularity.
§ Frozen low calorie entrees are introduced (Lean Cuisine).
§ Frozen low priced entrees premier (Budget Gourmet).
§ Lack of freezer space in retail outlets increasingly becomes a problem for the industry.
§ Microwave items increase in popularity.
§ FDA deems frozen fruit and vegetable products to have the equivalent or superior nutrient profiles than their fresh counterparts.
§ Spicy, ethnic foods hit an all-time high in popularity.
§ Consumers eat up family size portions.
§ Frozen meal starters and one-dished prepared make their debut, and have immediate success.
§ The frozen food industry is only limited by its imagination!