Many college students, hurried parents, and young professionals view frozen food as a go-to meal that does its part to lessen the stress in their busy lives. But Stouffer’s lasagna, Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies, and Ore-Ida French fries haven’t been around forever. People living in very cold climates developed various food-freezing techniques long ago, but Clarence Birdseye is credited with inventing the quick-freezing method that first brought us modern frozen food in 1924. According to the Library of Congress, Birdseye was working as a fur trader in Canada when he realized that the fish he and a local Inuit caught together froze almost immediately after they pulled it from the water. Months later, he found the thawed-out fish to be no less tasty. Birdseye theorized that the best-tasting frozen food must be frozen very quickly, and this idea inspired his development of two different quick-freezing methods. Later on, he sold his company to Goldman Sachs for $22 million. The rest is history.
Frozen prepared food sales in the United States amount to over $14 billion, but it’s important to note that frozen food isn’t as popular in every country as it is in the U.S. In Italy, since fresh ingredients are available year-round, people often face a cultural difficulty in accepting the regular use of frozen food.
We looked up frozen food brands in other countries and expanded on a previous list of unusual frozen foods around the world to give you an idea of the way frozen food varies with these 13 different items.
Additional reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani.