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(Fox News)   Frozen food sales are dropping as Americans insist their food be fresher. To be fair, there really is nothing as good as a Hot Pocket fresh from the extruder   (foxnews.com) divider line 59
    More: Interesting, frozen foods, Americans, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, frozen vegetables, frozen meal, Healthy Choice, Euromonitor  
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476 clicks; posted to Business » on 13 May 2014 at 5:10 PM (31 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-13 09:48:11 AM  
I guess they just aren't on board for the international experience.

24.media.tumblr.com
 
2014-05-13 11:06:07 AM  
I've had most of that stuff straight off the belt and let me tell you it is better.
 
2014-05-13 12:17:29 PM  

EvilEgg: I've had most of that stuff straight off the belt and let me tell you it is better.


Even belt onions?
 
2014-05-13 01:00:07 PM  
Well with as many options the average person has now-a-days for a fresh hot meal I can see why this prepacked crap is dying off.

Competition how does it work!?
 
2014-05-13 01:55:39 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-05-13 02:08:28 PM  
I have to admit a weakness for:

www.villabertolli.com

It's my "don't feel like cooking" standby.

Hey Endive Wombat -- if I wanted to make my own freezer pasta meals, how would you do the pasta?  Cook it just short of al dente before freezing?  Sauces I would imagine you could put in ice cube trays.
 
2014-05-13 03:42:45 PM  

Diogenes: I have to admit a weakness for:

[www.villabertolli.com image 300x300]

It's my "don't feel like cooking" standby.

Hey Endive Wombat -- if I wanted to make my own freezer pasta meals, how would you do the pasta?  Cook it just short of al dente before freezing?  Sauces I would imagine you could put in ice cube trays.


I would start there.  I would also be careful with cream based sauces as they can get funny in the freezer.  If you look at the ingredients, of those frozen meals that you buy that do have a creaminess to them, yes they have cream, but they also have stuff that mimics cream like emulsifiers, thickening agents like cornstarch, well pureed vegetable proteins, whey, cheeses, etc. which allows them to get around the issues that cream can bring to the party once frozen.

You could always make a sauce minus cream, and add it as needed while cooking...just a thought.
 
2014-05-13 03:54:35 PM  

Endive Wombat: Diogenes: I have to admit a weakness for:

[www.villabertolli.com image 300x300]

It's my "don't feel like cooking" standby.

Hey Endive Wombat -- if I wanted to make my own freezer pasta meals, how would you do the pasta?  Cook it just short of al dente before freezing?  Sauces I would imagine you could put in ice cube trays.

I would start there.  I would also be careful with cream based sauces as they can get funny in the freezer.  If you look at the ingredients, of those frozen meals that you buy that do have a creaminess to them, yes they have cream, but they also have stuff that mimics cream like emulsifiers, thickening agents like cornstarch, well pureed vegetable proteins, whey, cheeses, etc. which allows them to get around the issues that cream can bring to the party once frozen.

You could always make a sauce minus cream, and add it as needed while cooking...just a thought.


Excellent suggestions.  Thanks!

Sometimes I like to cook on the weekends so I don't have to bother during the week.  Those pasta in a bag thingies are tasty, but really expensive (and probably not the healthiest).  But just based on what you see when you open them, it seemed to me they'd be easy enough to make myself.
 
2014-05-13 04:39:04 PM  
I try not to eat too many frozen meals because of the sodium levels. Some companies make low sodium stuff.

I like Amy's.
 
2014-05-13 05:29:18 PM  
Rumor is there are a few people here other than our professional chefs that are rather good at cooking.  If you ask nicely I'll share some of the fun stuff I've cooked.
 
2014-05-13 05:41:01 PM  
Frozen veggies, berries, ice cream, fish. There's no reason to buy little trays of microwave misery.
 
2014-05-13 05:49:33 PM  
I've done sauces Saturday morning and vacuum packed them in daily size use for the next week. The problem for most folks is a cheap vacuum sealer does not do a great job on a liquid. You need one designed for such. Another alternative is to make your own pasta, loaded up with spices/flavorings that may just need a little oil over the top.
 
2014-05-13 05:54:47 PM  
The only thing I really buy in bulk frozen are Cornish hens and salmon fillets when on sale. The kid loves salmon sandwiches and frozen wild fillets are far cheaper than fresh the way the teenager eats. Back when I could Cornish hens for $1-$1.25 the kid would have one every day with rice as his "school is starving me with the new guidelines" as soon as he got home.
 
2014-05-13 05:55:46 PM  

Sybarite: I guess they just aren't on board for the international experience.

[24.media.tumblr.com image 786x1023]


I can't believe how pathetically small those things have gotten. The kids eat them occasionally and I cooked one up for my daughter recently. Holy crap, good thing she's only 5 and has a small stomach.

Not to mention that most of the food looks like petrified shiat, And I've actually SEEN petrified dinosaur shiat, so I'm speaking form experience here...
 
2014-05-13 06:03:02 PM  

Mikey1969: Sybarite: I guess they just aren't on board for the international experience.

[24.media.tumblr.com image 786x1023]

I can't believe how pathetically small those things have gotten. The kids eat them occasionally and I cooked one up for my daughter recently. Holy crap, good thing she's only 5 and has a small stomach.

Not to mention that most of the food looks like petrified shiat, And I've actually SEEN petrified dinosaur shiat, so I'm speaking form experience here...


I've always wanted a highly polished coprolite
 
2014-05-13 06:04:25 PM  

Mikey1969: Sybarite: I guess they just aren't on board for the international experience.

[24.media.tumblr.com image 786x1023]

I can't believe how pathetically small those things have gotten. The kids eat them occasionally and I cooked one up for my daughter recently. Holy crap, good thing she's only 5 and has a small stomach.

Not to mention that most of the food looks like petrified shiat, And I've actually SEEN petrified dinosaur shiat, so I'm speaking form experience here...


Note to self:  Never read Fark while eating.

I've been buying a bunch more fresh products because I'm trying to eat healthier.  However, I will buy frozen fruit as that seems to work better for adding to yogurt and frozen vegetables. .
 
2014-05-13 06:13:51 PM  
Fun fact of the day: frozen fruits and vegetables are often healthier than fresh, because they were actually ripe when they were frozen.

/the more you know
 
2014-05-13 06:16:58 PM  

Smeggy Smurf: Mikey1969: Sybarite: I guess they just aren't on board for the international experience.
[24.media.tumblr.com image 786x1023]
I can't believe how pathetically small those things have gotten. The kids eat them occasionally and I cooked one up for my daughter recently. Holy crap, good thing she's only 5 and has a small stomach.
Not to mention that most of the food looks like petrified shiat, And I've actually SEEN petrified dinosaur shiat, so I'm speaking form experience here...
I've always wanted a highly polished coprolite


img.fark.net
 
2014-05-13 06:38:05 PM  
impaler

You beat me to it.
 
2014-05-13 06:53:02 PM  
Frozen vegetables are quite fresh and not loaded with preservatives...since they are frozen

a nice alternative when the good fresh stuff is out of season or just priced like its made out of jade
 
2014-05-13 06:55:24 PM  
Part of it is indeed that people have come to appreciate fresh foods more.

Frozen foods offered convenience, and as Sybarite showed, at one point offered a way for middle America to get some vague facsimile of foreign foods.  I remember those awful "Mexican" frozen dinners from when I was a kid, flavorless mush vaguely in the shape of enchiladas and refried beans, with weird-textured "rice".

When Clarence Birdseye perfected the process of freezing foods, it was hard to get fresh foods in many grocery stores, aside from locally grown produce.  Frozen vegetables meant you could get more than just tomatoes and potatoes and lettuce and onions at the store.

However, in an age when you can go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to make various "foreign" dishes at pretty much any store, and fresh vegetables and meat are generally affordable, there isn't the same drive to buy frozen.

In our house, we gave up on frozen convenience foods when my wife developed several major food allergies, most critically, corn.  Try being severely allergic to corn.  That pretty much means all processed foods are right out.
 
2014-05-13 07:11:10 PM  
And how about some fresh wine? No more of this old stuff!
 
2014-05-13 07:19:07 PM  

astro716: And how about some fresh wine? No more of this old stuff!


Ok,but I have to warn you: there are snails in the food.
 
2014-05-13 07:38:11 PM  
I love frozen vegetables.  As for frozen meals, they're generally terrible tasting and beyond that there's seemingly little point to many of them.  I saw frozen complete cheeseburgers a few weeks ago.  Why would I pay for a frozen cheeseburger when I can get a much better tasting one for the same price at McDonald's.  The nutrition is about the same.
 
2014-05-13 07:39:24 PM  
I've been losing weight and it's naturally led to eating non-frozen food (except frozen fruit for smoothies and veggie burgers).  After years of eating all that frozen stuff, and having switched to "real" food, I can't believe I ate all that crap for so long.

/27 lbs lost in 5 weeks
//whole lots more to go
///I sound fat
 
2014-05-13 07:41:06 PM  
BTW, the best thing at Trader Joe's is the frozen fish.  It's the only reason I go there.

/ok, the cheap wine too
 
2014-05-13 07:50:37 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com

I even like the chicken, if the sauce is not too blue.
 
2014-05-13 07:53:35 PM  
Pssst. Hey frozen food guys. Wanna know how you can get people to start buying your stuff more once again?

REDUCE THE farkING PRICES!
 
2014-05-13 07:54:28 PM  

Creoena: I've been losing weight and it's naturally led to eating non-frozen food (except frozen fruit for smoothies and veggie burgers).  After years of eating all that frozen stuff, and having switched to "real" food, I can't believe I ate all that crap for so long.

/27 lbs lost in 5 weeks
//whole lots more to go
///I sound fat


Slow down there tubby.  It's supposed to be no more than 2 lbs a week to allow your metabolism to adjust.
 
2014-05-13 08:02:01 PM  
The deep freezer out in my garage would beg to differ.
OK, so it's mostly various cuts and species of frozen meat (chicken, bison, beef, salmon, etc) that I picked up on sale and vegetables, but I'm still guilty of buying some frozen pizza for a night when I've been drinking beer and don't feel like making anything that requires much effort.

Oh, and ice cream, because I love ice cream. Seriously, my Schwan's man loves coming here because I'm always buying ice cream and vegetables from him. I do pass on the frozen lasagnas and such though.
 
2014-05-13 08:02:50 PM  
I thought kosher involved a blessing by a rabbi.

Often I wonder how they do that. Do Rabbis get part time jobs at Hebrew National? Or can anyone with a Rabbi license jump out and go work in the private sector?

Do they bless them at a point along the line over and over, sitting on a stool by the conveyor belt? By the truck? Weekly blessings of the warehouse with a 3% unblessed rate that will probably squek by as long as you say a brief prayer at the table?
 
2014-05-13 08:04:23 PM  
And I misread "fresher" as kosher. Disregard my previous post please.
 
2014-05-13 08:31:13 PM  
I would love to see a realistic version of that Hot Pockets commercial where the guy is eating a hot pocket and his roommate and roommate's girlfriend(?) walk in, she just walks up and bites the other end.  The real follow-up is her clutching her scorched mouth, as molten cheese cauterizes her tongue.
 
2014-05-13 08:47:03 PM  

vernonFL: I try not to eat too many frozen meals because of the sodium levels. Some companies make low sodium stuff.

I like Amy's.


The sodium levels for most frozen "dinners" is usually off the charts.

Just out of curiosity, I just checked the label on Healthy Choice Beef Merlot.  I thought that wouldn't be too bad since it's just beans, carrots, potatoes and a little beef in some sauce.  It's still 25% of the daily allowance.   How the hell does that need so much salt?  I suspect most of the sodium is in the sauce, which I don't actually eat much of.

Also, the one time I bought an Amy's frozen dinner I was disgusted.  Never again.  Maybe I just made a poor selection and not all of Amy's frozen foods are completely gross, but there's no way I will ever try another.

I think most frozen food companies have a few truly shiatty products.  I generally think Healthy Choice is okay.  It's nothing great, but I almost barfed when I tried their Chicken Fettucini Alfredo.which surprised me because I can handle Stouffer's version of that despite the fact that there is barely any chicken and less than a fork full of broccoli in it,.

Frozen food isn't going away.  There are too many people like me who just want to throw something in the microwave and have a meal 5 minutes later.  It's just too easy and the only thing that you have to wash after you're done is a single fork.
 
2014-05-13 09:00:52 PM  
When my father was in assisted living with a very restricted diet, I used to pick him up as an outing for grocery shopping. It was tragic to see everything he wanted as we went through the frozen section was forbidden due to sodium.
 
2014-05-13 09:25:18 PM  
Can any food scientists tell me why a flash frozen gourmet meal pretty much always sucks?

It's the reheating isn't it?

I am the smart.
 
2014-05-13 09:36:13 PM  

Zarquon's Flat Tire: I thought kosher involved a blessing by a rabbi.

Often I wonder how they do that. Do Rabbis get part time jobs at Hebrew National? Or can anyone with a Rabbi license jump out and go work in the private sector?

Do they bless them at a point along the line over and over, sitting on a stool by the conveyor belt? By the truck? Weekly blessings of the warehouse with a 3% unblessed rate that will probably squek by as long as you say a brief prayer at the table?


I used to work for a meat company. Some of their products are kosher and some are even halal since they ship a fair amount of beef to Egypt.  They don't have a rabbi or an imam in the plants.  They actually play a recording of them saying whatever prayers they're supposed to say.

If you ever get a chance, you should go see how beef is processed.  The cows get herded in one at a time.  They get "knocked" with a strong bolt to the head and then get lifted up by their hind legs and as it moves through the plant people cut it apart.  Some of the awful jobs I saw there included a woman who had what appeared to be a large bolt cutter.  She cuts the hooves off as the cows go by.  That's all she did and they kill about 5,000 head of cattle a day.

Much further down the line there is a conveyor belt where livers and bladders and some other things get processed.  There is someone there who does nothing but pick the bladders up off the conveyor belt and slices them apart with a knife to let any urine still in them go down a drain.

Meanwhile in another part of the plant, people are filling boxes with cheek muscles which are still twitching

It's a very clean, but somewhat medieval place and to top it all off, sometimes there are accidents and workers have died there.

Despite all of that, every time I visited a plant I wanted a steak, unless it was the lamb plant and then I wanted lamb for lunch.  I never got to go to a pork or chicken plant though.  I can only imagine what a chicken plant is like.  I don't even know how they kill those things.

Oh, and as a side note, for anyone who thinks the USDA isn't involved in all of this, there are USDA employees on site every day for every animal that gets slaughtered and they can shut down the whole operation for any reason they want.  Maybe they're just having a bad day.  Maybe someone didn't invite them to a party the previous weekend. Maybe they noticed an actual food safety problem.

SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!  The execs in the office really hate when that happens.  They also hate recalls so they try to avoid them.  I remember getting phone calls from a frantic CIO on a Friday night asking for all the data for every animal that got killed between 4 PM and 5:30 PM.   And then I would get another phone call asking me to expand that to every animal that was killed between 2 PM and 8 PM.

The profit margins are actually quite small, so every pound of meat is important.

One time a bunch of carcasses got "washed" with contaminated water.  The company wanted to just cut the exterior parts off the carcasses, but the USDA wanted them to dump the whole lot, but money talks and the company won that argument.

As distasteful as that whole business is, I still love a good steak....you won't find it in any frozen dinners though.

And despite seeing this  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1ANKehRX0M  I also still eat pork.
 
2014-05-13 09:48:42 PM  
i have to admit, i am a sucker for anything that comes out of an extruder.
 
2014-05-13 10:01:42 PM  
gfid
Thank you for one of the better descriptions.
 
2014-05-13 11:08:26 PM  
ConAgra makes some of the lowest quality, shiattiest food ever. It barely classifies as food. That being said, Banquet potpies are pure awesomeness.
 
2014-05-13 11:39:28 PM  

joepainter: ConAgra makes some of the lowest quality, shiattiest food ever. It barely classifies as food. That being said, Banquet potpies are pure awesomeness.


With a name like ConAgra, you know it's just a huge corporate piece of meat.

ConAgra makes Healthy Choice, which as far as frozen dinners go isn't really that bad IMO.

It's not really good, but compared to everything else in the frozen food section of your grocery store?   All I'm saying is you could do worse.

So, I just looked up what food they market.  It's amazing how much stuff they make.  Hebrew National?  Yeah, that's theirs.  Best mass-produced hot dog in the world if you ask me.  Peter Pan peanut butter?  I prefer Jif, but to be honest I probably would fail to distinguish the two in a blind taste test.  They also make Hunt's ketchup - I prefer Heinz,but again I probably wouldn't  be able to tell them apart either.

Just looking at their web page, I see 47 different brands and I'd bet that you eat at least some of them.
 
2014-05-14 12:42:22 AM  

impaler: Fun fact of the day: frozen fruits and vegetables are often healthier than fresh, because they were actually ripe when they were frozen.

/the more you know


I buy frozen, chopped spinach by the armful on sale, but I can't stomach frozen broccoli - the freezing just make the texture gross.  Frozen (organic) berries FTW.
 
2014-05-14 12:43:49 AM  

Silverstaff: In our house, we gave up on frozen convenience foods when my wife developed several major food allergies, most critically, corn.  Try being severely allergic to corn.  That pretty much means all processed foods are right out.


A blessing in disguise.
 
2014-05-14 12:46:18 AM  

Smeggy Smurf: /27 lbs lost in 5 weeks
//whole lots more to go
///I sound fat

Slow down there tubby.  It's supposed to be no more than 2 lbs a week to allow your metabolism to adjust.


The body's pretty smart about how fast to shed excess pounds if you're giving it the right fuel.  The first time I went on a "real food" diet,  I lost 60 lbs. in 90 days.  Working out like a fiend helped, too.

/fat now
 
2014-05-14 03:19:19 AM  

wildcardjack: Frozen veggies, berries, ice cream, fish. There's no reason to buy little trays of microwave misery.


Frozen ice cream???

The hell you say!!!
 
2014-05-14 04:19:10 AM  

acohn: Smeggy Smurf: /27 lbs lost in 5 weeks
//whole lots more to go
///I sound fat

Slow down there tubby.  It's supposed to be no more than 2 lbs a week to allow your metabolism to adjust.

The body's pretty smart about how fast to shed excess pounds if you're giving it the right fuel.  The first time I went on a "real food" diet,  I lost 60 lbs. in 90 days.  Working out like a fiend helped, too.

/fat now


I started a proper food and workout regimen a few weeks ago, but now I'm down to proper food. :(

/torn LCL
 
2014-05-14 04:42:49 AM  

firefly212: I started a proper food and workout regimen a few weeks ago, but now I'm down to proper food. :(


I've often pointed out to people that I get a lot of exercise walking downstairs to get another beer.  Think about it.  That's a lot of steps to finish off a 12-pack.
 
2014-05-14 05:07:53 AM  
The problem I have with frozen foods isn't the freshness so much as the list of ingredients. Even frozen peas FFS have salt or sugar added. Peas!
 
2014-05-14 07:54:27 AM  
img2.wikia.nocookie.net

But next year is 2015, and we're supposed to have dehydrated pizza along with hoverboards.
 
2014-05-14 08:56:12 AM  

joepainter: ConAgra makes some of the lowest quality, shiattiest food ever. It barely classifies as food. That being said, Banquet potpies are pure awesomeness.


s2.quickmeme.com
 
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