"We should not be feeding our kids this."
That's why frozen food reviewer Gregory Ng quit his popular web show, FreezerBurns, despite building a profitable following by reviewing upwards of 1,000 frozen dinners since 2008. It's also the apt title of the excerpted final video, during which the a father of three from Raleigh, North Carolina, abruptly quits on camera.
"I reviewed this particular Kid Cuisine meal and I just got very angry during the review," Ng explained to AdWeek. "It is geared at kids, and it just isn't anything I would serve to them. It was also a meal that has a commercial tie-in with the How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie, and the commercialization of the meal made me upset. I record every episode in one take and it just happened."
And for that, we applaud him. Watching Ng slam a kids' meal that has too many ingredients to count, most of them unpronounceable, was almost cathartic. It captured what so many health-conscious eaters (parents or not) know to be true about these products: far too many are loaded with sodium and saturated fat and feature nary a green vegetable.
For a long time, that business model seemed to work: The frozen food industry is huge—almost $9 billion-huge. But interestingly, it's now on the decline. Between 2009 and 2013, sales of pizzas, chicken fingers, and all manner of cheesy Italian dishes shrank by 3% in the U.S., according to a Euromonitor International report. And the numbers are expected to sink by another 2% in 2014.
The good news: this decline is largely due to consumer demands for healthier products. The even better news, though, is that the frozen food industry is listening. These days you can find tons of whole food options in the freezer aisle that are tasty, convenient, and have more than reasonable nutrition specs. You can even find vegan and gluten-free meals.
I know because we just wrapped our very own taste test of these newfangled heat-and-eat meals. See our top picks in the forthcoming November issue of Health, available on October 17.