NATIONAL TV DINNER DAY
National TV Dinner Day is observed annually on September 10th. In 1953, C.A. Swanson & Sons was about to forever changed the prepackaged meal business. Introducing the TV Dinner revolutionized frozen food.
In 1962, Swanson stopped using the name “TV Dinner”. However, in the United States, the term remains synonymous with any prepackaged dinner purchased frozen from a store and heated at home.
The first Swanson TV Dinner consisted of a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, cornbread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes. The original tray was made of aluminum and each food item had separate compartments. The dinner had to be heated in the oven and took about 25 minutes to cook. Today most frozen food trays are made of microwaveable safe material.
The original product sold for 98 cents and the production estimate for the first year was 5,000 dinners. To their surprise, Swanson far exceeded that amount and in the first year, sold more than 10 million of them.
- 1960 – Swanson added desserts to a new four-compartment tray.
- 1964 – Night Hawk name originated from the Night Hawk steak houses that operated in Austin, Texas from 1939 through 1994. The original diners were open all night catering to the late-night crowd. The restaurants produced the first frozen Night Hawk TV dinner in 1964.
- 1969 – The first TV breakfasts were marketed. Great Starts Breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches followed later.
- 1973 – The first Swanson Hungry-Man dinners were marketed; these were larger portions of its regular dinner products.
- 1986 – The first microwave oven-safe trays were marketed.
- 1986 – The Smithsonian Institute inducted the original Swanson TV Dinner tray into the Museum of American History.
Much has changed since the original TV Dinner, and they also remain a popular choice for a fast and convenient meal and fun to eat in front of the TV!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Get out a TV dinner, pop it in the microwave or oven, and enjoy! Use #NationalTVDinnerDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator of National TV Dinner Day.
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