It is often said that inventions come from observing a ‘need’ and Clarence Birdseye’s observation that Eskimos were able to store fish for many months if it had been frozen quickly in the icy winds of their homelands certainly has proved important for modern society.
Anyone that has studies chemistry or geology will know that crystals that from quickly are much smaller than those that take a long time. Ice crystals that form
quickly do not disrupt the cells of the frozen material as much as larger crystals that occur when freezing takes place slowly - and consequently the taste and appearance are preserved much better. Birdseye’s initial efforts were all directed around fish products and one of his early patents was for a ‘fish-finger’; a dish synonymous with the name ‘Birdseye’
Birdseye’s greatest success came when he created a ‘belt-supplied’ feed to a freezer machine – actually two very cold panels between which the food travelled – and perhaps reminiscent of Birdseye’s original observation of the success of the Eskimos and their laying of fish onto ice in freezing cold winds….
The “Birds’ Eye” brand-name originates from 1931 and success with the new frozen products may have been partially attributed to the marketing ploy of giving away samples in large shops – the ‘tasting sessions’ often seen with new product promotion today.