Profile America — Monday, December 9th. One of the universal conveniences of modern life, and a boon to those of us with little time to spend grocery shopping and cooking, was developed by a man who was born on this date in 1886. Clarence Birdseye was on a scientific expedition to Labrador early in the 20th century when he noticed that freshly caught fish froze solid almost immediately when exposed to Arctic atmospheric conditions. But when thawed and eaten, the fish still tasted fresh. Birdseye went on to develop a system of flash-freezing meat, fish, and vegetables under high pressure. The first retail frozen food went on sale in 1930, and by 1944, refrigerated railroad boxcars allowed frozen foods to be distributed across the nation. Today, frozen food is a $25 billion a year industry in the U.S. Profile America is in its 17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
2007 Economic Census, NAICS 31141