TV Dinners No Longer Hip

Frozen meals are a nine-billion dollar business in the U.S., one that has reportedly made it into 99% of homes (who are you 1% of people who have never eaten a Lean Cuisine?!) but according to Roberto Ferdman and the Atlantic, sales are down and things aren’t looking so good for the old TV dinner.

A number of factors appear to be working against the frozen food aisle—including the rise of dieting, consciousness of better portioning, and Americans’ growing boredom with ready-made frozen meals. But there are four reasons in particular which seem to stand out, according to the research firm Mintel: Americans say they are strapped for cash; they feel frozen food is no longer cost-effective; they prefer to cook for themselves; and they are increasingly skeptical of the health claims of frozen meals—40 percent of U.S. adults think frozen dinners offer no nutritional value.

Also, and rather importantly, the industry is hemorrhaging younger consumers.While Americans over 45 are actually chomping on more freezer-chilled foods, those under 45 say they are more interested in “freshness.”

I love that “freshness” is in quotes. I mean, I know what they meant but still it’s like, Who are these young people with their newfangled demands for “freshness”???

I have strangely fond memories of hanging out in the frozen food aisle with my mom and sister spending way too long picking out my which Kid Cuisine (tell me you know what I’m talking about — blue box, penguin on the front?), but it’s true I haven’t bought a frozen meal in some time. I guess I do love “freshness.”

Photo: adrigu


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