I can only remember one time in my childhood where I ate a frozen meal. Growing up in 1980’s and 1990’s, tv dinner meals were all the rage—except in my household. Something about the neat package of brownie, fluorescent-hued corn and square pizza was a novelty for me during the time of Swanson Hungry Man.
TV dinners were meals designed to be eaten without paying much attention to it atop furniture designed to take up little room or thought as well. That it was both budget-friendly and time-efficient only added to the relief of not having to engage with anyone or anything than the glow of the television.
According to an article in The Atlantic, “frozen ready meal sales have fallen come in just about flat after nearly 60 years of sustained growth.” For a cultural trend that resulted in it’s own furniture, this news is huge. Frozen foods, a multi-billion dollar industry built on efficiency, thriftiness and let’s be honest, laziness is crashing down.
Perhaps contributing to the fall of the TV dinners is the slow food movement, an increase in consuming fresh produce from CSAs and heck, maybe even Tivo. One could argue that being able to watch primetime television at your convenience is enough to pause must-see Thursday’s line up long enough to eat roasted brussel sprouts and organic chicken. Maybe it’s that society today is much more informed on the nutritional value of their meals and a cupful of microwaved corn just isn’t cutting it anymore. Or maybe, just maybe, we as a whole are living more mindfully. Sure, we still stare at the television like mosquitos are drawn to light whenever Olivia Pope saves the day (who doesn’t?), but having come to expect engagement in every aspect of our lives—what’s more engaging than Twitter and Instagram if not conversation over a nice meal at the end of the day.