March 6, 1930

Clarence Birdseye Tests Frozen Food


On this day in 1930, shoppers in Springfield became the first Americans to find frozen food in their grocery stores. A test marketing program was designed to see if people would buy frozen food. And buy it they did. Within a few years, Americans would think nothing of eating fresh-tasting peas in December. The transformation of the American diet was due to the intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial genius of the man whose name was, and still is, on the package—Clarence Birdseye. A largely self-taught naturalist, he spent five years as a fur trapper in Labrador. He summed up his achievement by saying he had simply taken "Eskimo knowledge and the scientists' theories and adapted them to quantity production."

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