March 06, 2012 at 08:00 AM EST
ConAgra Foods Celebrates the History of Frozen Meals to Mark National Frozen Food Day - March 6

OMAHA, Neb., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- From taking up to 50 minutes in the oven to healthful, fresh tasting meals in minutes steamed in the microwave, the TV dinner has come a long way since the 1950s. Massive improvements in the quality and taste of frozen meals have set the bar high and today's meals are portion control made easy with real, fresh tasting ingredients that can be steamed in minutes.  This is one of the reasons why frozen food is up 22% or $10 billion annually (Packaged Facts, 2006-2010) and is projected to be a $70 billion category by 2015. 

Today – in recognition of National Frozen Food Day (March 6) – ConAgra Foods celebrates its decades of preparing the great tasting frozen foods America loves. From the original TV dinner, which came packaged in an oven-proof aluminum tray, to the vast array of fresh tasting options today, frozen meals have changed the way Americans eat. The aluminum tray was replaced in the 1980s with a plastic version suitable for the microwave, dramatically reducing preparation time.  As American lifestyles and tastes changed over the decades, the frozen meal category has responded to consumer demand for healthier meals with more nuanced and sophisticated fresh flavors.

ConAgra Foods' frozen foods, including Healthy Choice® and Marie Callender's®, have been at the vanguard of improving the taste, quality and nutritional content of frozen meals.  Since its introduction in 1988, Healthy Choice has been the only brand for which all of its products are able to be called 'healthy' by meeting strict government standards.  Healthy Choice has changed the reputation of frozen foods  - revamping over the years based on direct consumer feedback for fewer, fresher-tasting ingredients.  Today Healthy Choice is better than ever – starting with bold chef-inspired ingredients like granny smith apples, red bell peppers, savory garlic, carrots, sweet potato, zucchini and vine-ripened tomatoes.    

"As we mark National Frozen Food Day, we should acknowledge the great strides that have been made to improve the taste, convenience and nutrition of frozen meals," said Al Bolles, Ph.D, executive vice president, Research, Quality and Innovation at ConAgra Foods.  "Frozen meals today are prepared with fresh tasting, high quality ingredients featuring a variety of flavors from traditional to ethnic-inspired cuisine – many with lower fat, calories and sodium for great tasting, real food you can feel good about serving your family."

"With shoppers seeking high quality, great taste and terrific value every time they shop, the frozen food department is tops on their shopping list," says ConAgra Foods spokesperson and the Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert. "From foods made with frozen fruits and vegetables to healthier offerings like new Healthy Choice "Top Chef" Inspired Cafe Steamers made with gourmet ingredients, the frozen foods case is stocked with the least time-consuming array of foods.  It's no surprise the average American cooks and eats a frozen meal about six times each month."

"ConAgra Foods is a pioneer when it comes to frozen food and we just keep making it better and better," said Bolles. "When I look back at the progress and changes of frozen meals over the past half-century, I am excited to see what comes next."

About ConAgra Foods

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG), is one of North America's leading food companies.  With brands in 97 percent of American households, ConAgra Foods provides some of America's long-time favorites. Consumers can find Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National hotdogs, Hunt's tomato sauces and ketchup, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, PAM cooking spray, Reddi-wip topping, Slim Jim meat sticks and beef jerky and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with Easy Dinner Recipes and more. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at http://www.conagrafoods.com.

SOURCE ConAgra Foods, Inc.

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