Articles and Information from GA Foods

Five Memorable TV Dinner Moments

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Sep 7, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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September 10th is National TV Dinner Day, a day that celebrates the convenience of pre-portioned meals.

Since their inception, TV dinners have become a staple in American households. The prepackaged individual servings of meat and vegetables (and sometimes desserts!) changed the way Americans made and ate dinner. Women were no longer cooped up in the kitchen all day, and surprise dinner guests were no longer an issue.

In honor of National TV Dinner Day, we've compiled the five most memorable TV dinner moments:

1. The invention of the TV dinner

The invention of the TV dinner is attributed to a handful of different parties. While other companies may have invented the concept, C.A. Swanson & Sons coined the term 'TV dinner'. Take a look at the timeline:

1945: Maxson Food Systems, Inc. manufactured “Strato-Plates” complete meals that were reheated on planes for military and civilian passengers.

Late '40s: Jack Fisher created FridgiDinners – frozen meals served in bars and taverns.

1949: Albert and Meyer Bernstein created Frozen Dinners, Inc. – frozen dinners that were sold under the One-Eyed Eskimo label. Their dinners were served on aluminum trays with three compartments.

1954: C.A. Swanson & Sons created TV dinners – their version of frozen dinners. Swanson launched an advertising campaign to familiarize the public with TV dinners and sold them in retail stores, leading to the product’s success.

2. The first TV dinner meal – Thanksgiving leftovers!

C.A. Swanson & Sons’ salesman, Gerry Thomas, is credited with inventing the TV dinner. On his flight home, Thomas noticed the airplane meals were served on trays. He drew a sketch of his own version of the tray and suggested this concept to his company as a solution to their mass amounts of Thanksgiving leftovers. Swanson paired this idea with the biggest trend at the time, TVs, and thus TV dinners were born. The first TV dinners were sold in retail stores for a mere 98 cents!

3. The 1960s TV dinner expansions

1960: Swanson added a fourth compartment to their TV dinner tray so that consumers could have … desserts! A couple of the dessert options were apple cobbler and brownies. This addition really sweetened the deal for American consumers, as many homemade meals included desserts.

1969: TV breakfast was introduced. Now convenient meals were available in the morning as well.

4. The first Hungry-Man spokesman – “Mean” Joe Greene

In 1973, Swanson released Hungry-Man dinners, which had larger portions than their regular TV dinners. Professional football player “Mean” Joe Greene was the spokesman. Check out the commercial:

 

 

5. The ‘out with the old, in with the new’ decade – the '80s

Another memorable time for TV dinners was 1986 – the year of the tray. The original Swanson TV dinner tray made its debut into the Museum of American History in 1986 when it was inducted by the Smithsonian Institute. Also in '86, Swanson marketed the first microwave-safe trays. Microwave ovens were becoming a necessity in U.S. households, and with the introduction of Swanson’s microwave oven-safe trays, cooking TV dinners became easier than ever before.

In 1985, GA Foods furthered the impact of frozen meals with the introduction of our dual-ovenable meal trays. As one of the first companies to provide home-delivered frozen meals to seniors, we provided recipients the flexibility to select "what you want to eat, when you want it". 

Today's Frozen Meals

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While the meals are no longer referred to as TV dinners, the concept of frozen meals is still cookin’. In 2016, more than 60 years after the invention of the TV dinner, freezers in American households are still packed with frozen, pre-portioned meals. Frozen meals remain a popular food choice because they are easy to make, and come in a variety of options. And, with home-delivered meals from GA Foods, the meals are healthy and nutritionally-balanced too!

The familiarity of frozen meals provides the comfort of home, especially for seniors who have seen frozen meals from the beginning.

For more information on selecting a home-delivered meals provider click here.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition, Healthy Meals for Seniors

Home-Delivered Meals for Seniors: Why Use Frozen?

Posted by Frank Curto, PhD and Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Apr 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

TV-Dinners.gifMany senior nutrition programs are moving away from the traditional model of delivering hot meals daily to
delivering frozen meals weekly. If the idea of frozen meals conjurs up images of TV dinners from the 1960's, we are talking about something entirely different. Today's meals meet strict nutritional guidelines and are actually targeted for older adults. Here are the facts:

1.  Frozen food has the same, if not better, nutritional value as fresh foods. 

Frozen produce is not harvested until fully ripened. Fresh produce is harvested before reaching peak ripeness, so it can ripen during transportation and storage. This means nutrients do not develop to full potential.  However, frozen produce is allowed to ripen before being picked. The mature fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Frozen foods are flash-frozen immediately after being harvested. This process assures there is minimal nutrient loss when processing the foods. Hot and chilled meals are subjected to light and heat during transportation and storage, causing further nutrient loss. Frozen meals can be transported and stored without compromising nutrient content.

2.  Maintaining the cold chain with frozen home-delivered meals is the most reliable method of assuring food safety.

Although there are multiple causes of foodborne illness, improper temperature control is a common failure point in many segments of the food service production and distribution chain. The “cold chain” process has emerged as the most reliable method of assuring food safety. With this method, food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens that are responsible for the majority of foodborne-related illnesses.  Maintaining the cold chain process from the time of production until consumed is the best way to protect seniors from foodborne illness. For more information on foodborne-illnesses in seniors, click here.

Using frozen meals also allows delivery routes, particularly in rural areas, to be extended without compromising food safety. Hot meals have a much shorter delivery window. Drivers have to ensure meals are not exposed to improper temperatures and allowed to spend time outside of the food safety "danger zone." 

3.  Food quality is more appealing with frozen home-delivered meals.

Food held at hot temperatures also keeps bacteria from growing. However, hot food begins to deteriorate over time, affecting appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture. Food becomes mushy, overcooked, discolored, bitter, and dried out. Also, nutrient loss is greater with hot meals. Frozen meals are flash-frozen immediately after being cooked, locking in their great quality, taste, and nutrition. Freezing also allows seasonal foods to be available year round.

4.  Frozen home-delivered meals offer more flexibility and autonomy for the seniors. 

Home_Delivered_Meals_LR.pngFrozen meals are delivered to the homes 2 to 4 times per month, freeing up the senior's schedule. This allows them to select the meal they want to eat - when they want to eat it. Daily, hot home-delivered meals require the senior to be home every day at a specific time. There is no flexibility for scheduling doctor and therapy appointments. These meals are also selected for the senior, taking away their autonomy.  

Weekly deliveries of frozen meals allow nutrition programs to better utilize their resources and serve more seniors. In place of daily meal deliveries, many programs have their volunteers make social visits or phone calls to their recipients. This makes the seniors and their families feel more secure, knowing someone is regularly checking on them. 

If you'd like more information on selecting a home-delivered meal provider, click here.


Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, Senior Health

Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Jul 29, 2014 11:25:00 AM

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Home Delivered Meals:  

Are Fresh, Chilled Meals Healthier than Frozen?

People sometimes assume that fresh, chilled meals are a healthier choice than frozen meals.  The assumption is chilled meals aren’t as processed and the fresh produce is more nutritious.  However, this is only true if the meal goes from the farm to the table in a very short amount of time.  Many studies have compared the nutritional content of fresh vs. frozen foods and have found that frozen food has the same, if not better, nutritional value as fresh, chilled foods. 

Here are the cold, hard facts:

  1. Maureen-GarnerFrozen produce is not harvested until fully ripened.

    Fresh produce is harvested before reaching peak ripeness, so it can ripen during transportation and storage.  This means nutrients do not develop to full potential.  However, frozen produce is allowed to ripen before being picked.  The mature fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  2. The quick-freeze process locks in the high levels of nutrients.

    Once a fruit or vegetable is picked, it begins to lose nutrients immediately.  Since most fresh produce travels long distances to chilled meal manufacturers, much of the nutrient content is lost prior to preparation.  Frozen foods are flash-frozen immediately after being harvested.  This process assures there is minimal nutrient loss when processing the foods.  This is true with both meats and produce.

  3. Nutrient content and food safety of frozen meals isn’t compromised during transit and storage.

    Fresh, chilled meals are subjected to light and heat during transportation and storage, causing further nutrient loss.  Chilled storage does not slow down this loss.  Frozen foods can be transported and stored without compromising nutrient content or exposing the foods to dangerous temperature zones.  Per Foodsafety.gov, frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.

Recently, two independent studies compared the nutrient level of fresh produce that was stored in a refrigerator for 3 days to frozen equivalents.  They found more beneficial nutrients overall in the frozen samples. Chilled meals are refrigerated much longer than 3 days, meaning even more nutrient loss will be experienced than reported in the studies.  A technical summary of the studies can be found here.  Also, below is a short video that summarizes the findings of these studies.

 

 

Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals... Frozen Wins!

GA Foods provides frozen meals to ensure quality is retained, not only in nutrients but also in food safety.  

Frozen Meals Information

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Topics: Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition

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