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The concept of frozen food was created in the 1930s but the idea of freezing as a food preservation technique came about as early as 1000 B.C.  From the use of ice cellars to insulated cellars packed with snow, ancient civilizations managed.

However, in 1930, Clarence Birdseye, an engineer, would freeze the catch of the day in order to keep it fresh.  His interest in this process finally produced the double belt freezer in 1928 and soon after the brand launched a line of frozen foods to consumers.  The frozen food variety included meat, spinach, peas, berries, fruits, oysters and fish fillets.

This article is an interesting read on the history of freezing. Below is our timeline recap.

1940s:

As a result of World War II, the popularity of frozen food grew.  Canned goods were sent to war for the soldiers and frozen food required few ration points therefore easier to access. During this decade, frozen concentrated orange juice was also launched and soon after frozen breaded seafood.

1950s:

A milestone decade for frozen food as the launch of the “TV Dinner” became infamous.  Families who were pressed for time could finally enjoy a complete meal while enjoying the “TV” together.   All they had to do was thaw and reheat.  These dinners included an entree/meat item, a starch and a vegetable, and sometimes a dessert. Fish sticks, frozen pies and desserts were all introduced to consumers during this decade.  When the concept of frozen food was embraced, Birdseye began to see competitors trying to innovate with new frozen food offerings.

1960s:

This decade focused on a new “diet” craze in America which led to the launch of brands such as Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers. Lean Cuisine offered packaged dinners with a focus on important nutrients that would be a healthier option in comparison to dining out.  In the early 60’s, Weight Watchers founder, Jean Nidetch, invited friends into her Queens home once a week to discuss weight loss strategies and soon that concept grew into a community.

1970/80s:

The early 70s was hit with one of the worst recessions in history.  The latter of the decade launched the microwave oven.  We all know the concept of reheating food in record time and now it allowed for convenience and working families to be able to enjoy their time together eating such meals.   TV dinners were replaced by “frozen entrees.”

1990s:

This decade was when the concept of frozen and healthy tried to see eye to eye.  Consumers wanted healthy food options that happened to be tasty but also healthy.  Weight Watchers launched a variety of frozen products.  Brands like Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine continued to grow in popularity.  These brands marketed their products with words or phrases such as “lite,” “low-salt,” “low-fat,” and “low-cholesterol.”

2000s-present:

The aftermath of the 90’s was seen in 2000s.  Frozen food, while embraced and available everywhere, was starting to get a bad reputation.  The “TV Dinner” contained upwards of 700mg of sodium and, many times, the portion offered in these packaged meals was more than what one needed to eat for a single meal.  Dinner was only 1/3 of the day in terms of meal offerings.  In addition, these packaged meals also contained several artificial ingredients and many genetically modified ones.  The fine print is that ingredients were overlooked.

With chronic diseases on the rise, consumers were looking for alternative ways to eat healthy yet conveniently and that’s precisely where we are today.   We want you to read the nutrition labels when you consider buying frozen foods.  At Yummy Spoonfuls, you’ll see that we offer the next best to homemade food for your babies.

Remember: Frozen food isn’t bad.  It’s just when it’s added with ingredients you could barely pronounce in order to be safe for consumption that it’s not the optimal choice.

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