TV Dinners, Good Memories | Big Horn Basin Media

TV Dinners, Good Memories

Written by on April 6, 2021


Carl A. Swanson first introduced the first tv dinner on this day back in 1954. The first dinner consisted of roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, sweet potatoes and peas and was served in an aluminum tray and sold for only 98 cents! Swanson stopped calling them tv dinners in 1962.


Swanson was a Swedish immigrant who worked on a farm in Nebraska. He worked in a grocery store where he met John O. Jerpe who owned a small commission company, in which Swanson became a partner in 1899. The Jerpe Commission Company originally sold eggs and butter to distributors and farmers. They eventually expanded and began to sell chicken, turkey and other meat. Swanson would eventually buy the company and add his sons to the business.

The frozen food industry dramatically changed surrounding the time of Worl War II because men were required on the battlefield, women became more needed in the workforce, which in turn limited the amount of available time women could spend preparing meals for their children. Women began to rely on tv dinners post-war for greater convenience and to save time.


The Swanson & Sons’  TV dinner branded frozen meal, sold 5,000 units when it was first introduced in 1953; just one year later, the company had sold over 10,000,000 TV dinners. The company discontinued its successful butter and margarine business to concentrate on a poultry-based line of canned and frozen products. In April 1955, Swanson’s 4,000 employees and 20 plants were acquired by the Campbell Soup Company. By 1956, the Swanson brothers were selling 13 million TV dinners annually. If you want to learn all you can about TV Dinners here you go!





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