Profile America: TV Dinners

Friday, November 23rd. The menu for the day after Thanksgiving often involves leftover turkey. Household dinner options are nothing like that facing the Swanson Company this month 65 years ago. Overestimating the need for Thanksgiving turkeys in 1953, the firm found itself with some 260 tons of unsold turkey. Enter a salesman named Gerry Thomas. He modified a tray used by airlines into one with three compartments, filled it with a turkey dinner, and suggested tying the idea to the nation’s growing television market. And so the TV dinner was born, going on sale in 1954.

Frozen foods have come along steadily ever since, and there are 87,000 workers employed by the nation’s 690 frozen food manufacturers.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online.


Swanson and TV dinner

Frozen food manufacturers and employment, County Business Patterns

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