American frozen food aisles wouldn't be as jam-packed if it wasn't for the TV dinner.
Our desire for convenience in the kitchen has fueled a wave of food innovations, and it all began with the TV dinner. The TV dinner's promise of a hot-and-ready meal in under 25 minutes laid the groundwork for convenience-centric meal options to become the norm today.
"Convenience foods are always going to be important for the consumer," said Phyllis Levy, the former executive director of new ventures at Campbell Soup Company. "People are busier than ever."
Frozen foods were among the fastest-growing grocery categories during the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing in $72.2 billion in retail sales in 2022, nearly a 31% increase compared to 2019. Along with the growing demand for frozen foods, new products like meal kits have highlighted that growing appetite in America for more contemporary forms of convenience.
Watch this video to find out how TV dinners ushered in a new age of convenience in American kitchens, and how they led to a pandemic-era boom in frozen food sales.