TV dinners used to be cool. Meals in individual trays were marketed to families who liked to sit and watch this new form of entertainment together. Prior to this, listening to a radio was compatible with sitting around a table.
The TV dinner, however, gained a poor reputation. The quality of the food was not all it could be. Meanwhile, families, like mine when I was growing up, thought it important to sit around a table when eating as a family.
Nowadays, food is increasingly consumed in front of a computer. In a recent survey in the UK, 20% of people said they ate their evening meals in front of their computers. I have been known to eat lunch at my laptop, while amusing myself writing rubbish like this blog. Unlike the TV, computers (i-player, games, Facebook and so on) are sat at in solitude (although it can be social in networking terms).
I see an opportunity to reinvent the TV dinner, as the laptop dinner. Borrowing innovations from high-end airline food, and with healthier options and a bias toward finger foods, there must be a market for 3-course meals in one ergonomically-designed tray, so you can keep on with what you’re doing. Every pack could also include a specially designed cloth to wipe food off the screen and keyboard.
Here’s the benchmark for TV dinner advertising: