Observed annually on March 6, National Frozen Food Day has been celebrated since 1984.

The frozen food aisle is as common in the grocery store today as ATMs and self-checkouts and is a convenience we don’t give a second thought to unless the power goes out.

Credit for the flash freezing of fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood to preserve flavor and quality is given to American inventor, entrepreneur and naturalist Clarence Frank Birdseye II.

Food preservation by freezing had been done long before Birdseye had ever begun experimenting with the process. Birdseye discovered the key was freezing the food quickly. Flash freezing forms small ice crystals which prevent the cell walls from bursting. Large ice crystals turn the food to mush.

Birdseye applied for a multitude of patents, but one of his earliest is from 1927 for a process to flash freeze foods. Consider that in 1930 only 8 percent of American households had refrigeration units in their homes. A frozen food patent in 1927 was a visionary step in a long chain of events to make frozen foods a marketable product.

In 1930, the Birdseye label, owned by the General Food Corporation, began selling 26 products to 18 retails stores in and around Springfield, Massachusetts. Clarence Birdseye continued his work with General Foods Corporation.

Birdseye died October 7, 1956, but the name and products he inspired continue today.

Frozen dinners, first known as TV dinners, came on the scene in 1954 and were introduced by Swanson. These pre-cooked meals only needed to be heated through in the oven to be ready to eat.  No cooking skills were required. Pre-heat the oven, cook for the required length of time and eat.

The invention of the microwave has also changed the types of frozen foods and just how convenient these items can be.  Over the years, frozen foods have developed to meet consumer demand. A variety of family sized meals, health conscience meals and even organic meals have hit the markets in recent years.


Take a trip to your local grocery store and find one of your favorites in the frozen food aisle!! Use #NationalFrozenFoodDay to post on social media.


Proclamation 5157 was signed by President Ronald Reagan in which it said:  “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 6, 1984, as Frozen Food Day, and I call upon the American people to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

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