Americans spent $224 billion on frozen food last year. Now restaurants are jumping on board and putting versions of their dishes in the super-market freezer case.
Consumer Reports ran side-by-side comparisons to see how they measure up.
From the restaurant to your freezer: Many of America s most popular chain restaurants, including California Pizza Kitchen, TGI Friday s, Boston Market, and P.F. Chang s, are now selling frozen versions of their best-selling items. But are they worth staying in for? According to Consumer Report, sometimes!
Consumer Reports found that there were some remarkable differences in price and nutrition between the frozen and restaurant versions. Take California Pizza Kitchen s Frozen BBQ Recipe Chicken Thin Crust. It s topped with similar ingredients as the restaurant version, and at $6, it s less than half the price. Tasters found that the frozen version is worth a try, but the strong barbecue sauce overpowered the flavors.
Consumer Reports tasters were pleased with the frozen version of TGI Friday s Cheddar and Bacon Skins. The restaurant dish costs twice as much and has three times more calories and fat.
P.F. Chang s frozen shrimp lo mein resembles its restaurant counterpart in both price and appearance. However, the shrimp in the frozen version were noticeably small, and they don t have much flavor.
Boston Market s frozen chicken pot pie costs a little less than in the restaurant. But it s noticeably different: large chunks of rotisserie chicken in the restaurant dish vs. small cubes of spongy chicken in the frozen version, although testers thought its crust was tasty.
Another frozen dish that Consumer Reports says is worth trying is TGI Friday s buffalo wings. They re smaller than the ones you buy in the store, but they cost less and proved very tasty.