This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing frozen food specialties, not elsewhere classified, such as frozen dinners and frozen pizza. The manufacture of some important frozen foods and specialties is classified elsewhere. For example, establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing frozen dairy specialties are classified in NAICS 311520: Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts; those manufacturing frozen bakery products are classified in NAICS 311812: Bread and Other Bakery Products and NAICS 311813: Frozen Bakery Products, Except Bread; those manufacturing frozen fruits and vegetables are classified in NAICS 311411: Frozen Fruits, Fruit Juices, and Vegetables; and those manufacturing frozen fish and seafood specialties are classified in NAICS 311712: Prepared Fresh or Frozen Fish and Seafood.
The frozen food industry evolved during the early 1960s as the proliferation of supermarkets and self-service stores made mass marketing of frozen food products profitable. At the same time, refrigerator-freezers and stand-alone freezers gained in popularity. The first frozen food products were vegetables, poultry, fish, and fruit in boilable pouches. Items such as frozen juice concentrate, ice cream novelties, baked goods, variety dinners, seafood, breakfast items, and pizza gradually entered the industry from the mid-1960s through the 1990s.
Beginning in the 1980s, standard TV dinners gave way to a variety of meals and frozen specialty items that offered more choices and met specific dietary requirements. Frozen food manufacturers targeted their products at the needs of busy families who desired quick meal preparation and a large variety. They also developed new frozen entrees for children.
The rapid growth in the industry is also attributable to the introduction of the microwave oven. In fact, Quick Frozen Foods International called the combination of the microwave oven and frozen food a “marriage of convenience: Frozen food performs better in a microwave oven.” The magazine reported that microwave oven owners spent 34 percent more on pizza, 29 percent more on breakfast foods, 19 percent more on entrees, and 16 percent more on dinners than non-microwave owners. Improvements in taste over the past 40 years also made frozen food specialties increasingly attractive to busy families.
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