Frozen food is probably not what comes to mind when thinking about Thanksgiving. One of the biggest holidays of the year, the fourth Thursday of November has become synonymous with eating, and family and friends tend to spend hours (if not days) preparing their feast.
So what is the connection between TV Dinners and the food-focused holiday? Overly eager product planning and an innovative business decision.
In 1953, Swanson supplied restaurants and food processors with bulk products, including turkey. After an overzealous order resulted in more than 500k pounds of unsold fowl, the company was set to lose a lot of product—and a lot of profit. Enter Gerry Thomas, a salesman who joined the company a few years prior to the turkey overload. Inspired by the aluminum trays being produced for Pan American Airlines’ inflight meals, Thomas’s suggestion to cook the remaining meat, add some sides and freeze the meal in one easy-to-recook package was a forward-thinking, smart solution. And the idea to capitalize on the newest consumer obsession by calling a “TV” Dinner? Brilliant.
That may be one of our favorite random holiday facts but the 25 in this video are the real game changers (What do you mean turkey wasn’t served at the first Thanksgiving?)
Thanks Mental Floss: Not only did you blow our minds, we have a renewed appreciation for the fork.