BIO | How Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food with seven dollars


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Many good inventions would not be imaginable without imaginative business start-ups - for example, the frozen food, which makes today's stressful everyday life easier. The procedure was invented by Clarence Birdseye - with seven dollars, ice, salt and a fan with electric drive. #

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Taken from the Inuit

The American marine biologist Clarence Birdseye witnessed in his research trips from 1915 to 1922 to Labrador in Newfoundland over and over again how Inuit used the cold and their icy habitat to make their main food - the fish - long-lasting: they froze him.

To this end, they hanged their fresh catch or the looted booty into the icy cold, up to minus 45 degrees Celsius. Within a short time, fish and meat were frozen. The preserved food lasted all winter, and after thawing, they still tasted just as fresh as they were just caught or killed, even after weeks and months.

Little money and plenty of imagination

Birdseye was very fascinated by the idea of ​​conserving food for a longer period of time without any loss of taste or quality. Now it was time to develop a way to create artificial cold, which - just like the natural, arctic cold in the Canadian province of Newfoundland - rapidly cools food.

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The marine biologist found that once the food was frozen, it kept it optimally at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. From 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the cell activities completely come to a standstill, which would otherwise lead to spoilage.

The equipment available to him was more than meager and consisted of seven dollars, ice, salt and a fan with electric drive. But Birdseye, a natural scientist, knew no boundaries, and so developed the first shock freezing system, which enabled him to cool the fish, fish fillets, vegetables, meat and other foodstuffs simultaneously and in a very short time.

An idea is history

But Birdseye was also a businessman; He ensured that the new form of supply through the food trade in the hands of consumers.

On Thursday, the 6. For the first time in March 1930, residents of Springfield, Massachusetts, were able to buy packaged, frozen foods - the birth of frozen foods. They offered vegetables, fruits and fish.

Success also in Germany

And that was also ingenious: since there were still no classic freezer chests or cabinets, the already existing ice cream rests were used and used as retailers in the trade.

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On the occasion of the ANUGA 1955, the general food and confectionery exhibition in Cologne, the starting shot for the frozen food in Germany fell. There, six frozen food producers presented their products in household packs to the representatives of the trade.

Just one year later, the so-called “Cologne-Bonn chest test” started in the Rhineland. 400 chests were set up in the Rhine region in which courageous grocers were able to offer their customers frozen goods for the first time - with resounding success.

While the 1960 per capita consumption was still at an average of 400 grams, the appetite for food supply from the cold has increased almost one hundredfold: Germans' per capita consumption of frozen food now stands at no less than 39 kilograms (2008).


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