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Frozen Crock Pot Meals: Gone from Stores???

Update September 27, 2013 – After three years and 45 comments, most of which are now calls to bring these meals back, I’m closing comments simply because ConAgra no longer seems to be paying attention anyway. Sorry folks, we did what we could. Your best bet would probably be the Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook by Phyllis Pellman Good.

Update October 24, 2010 – I’ve received an answer from ConAgra Consumer Affairs about why these products can no longer be found. You can read their email about the end of these product lines by clicking here.

_________________________

I lifted these pics from the Food Revolution blog. Hopefully they don’t mind. I was going to shoot pics of my own, but then the following thing happened …

I love cooking in a crock pot. I love it so much I’ve actually burnt out our best crock pot, possibly from overuse. (It had a cooking timing computer in it, and you know how persnickity computers can be.) In a pinch, I’ve had a habit of using one of the frozen crock pot meals from either Banquet or Marie Callender’s. When we bought that computerized crock pot there was actually a coupon with it for the Banquet meals. Still, we really like Chicken & Dumplings and had found the Marie Callender’s brand to be the best of the two.

At Mary’s job they have a group of folks they call their Lunch Bunch. The staff are assigned to individual “bunches” who eat lunch together every day in order to build staff relationships. Each Wednesday one of the staff members is scheduled to bring lunch in for everyone else. They try to rotate through the members, and each member tries not to cook what someone else has brought in for that group. Crock pots work well for this kind of thing, and it’s really alright if something starts out as frozen as long as it’s good.

Mary’s day to bring lunch in is tomorrow. Since I was already headed out today she asked if I would pick up a couple bags of the frozen crock pot meals. I decided on our fave, the Marie Callender Chicken & Dumplings.

Coming into Monroe County I headed to the Kroger in Dundee, Michigan, on M-50, picked up some strawberries and chocolate chips to melt for dipping, and headed to frozen foods.

After about 5 minutes of looking in every window I stopped and looked around. I must have missed them.

A little more slowly, I went through again. Nothing.

What?

I asked a couple workers. One headed off to the bagged frozen foods section and the other told me to follow her. I did … and she couldn’t find them either.

A little pissed at Kroger (where I normally shop and had always bought the crock pot meals) I headed into Monroe. Heading north on Dixie Highway I stopped into Food Town where I thought the meals would be a quick purchase.

I was wrong. They weren’t there.

What the Hell?

I got back in the van and headed to Michigan-based Meijer. My oldest stepson Caleb (sitting across from me as I write this) works in frozen foods at the distribution warehouse. He wouldn’t let me down.

Standing in the middle of the frozen food aisles after making three trips around, I was dumbfounded.

Zero.Zilch.Nada.AintGots.ScratchHeadAgain.

With the advice from a worker on the floor I picked up the red phone and got Dennis, a grocery manager. I explained the dilemma and he said he’d be down. As I hung up the phone a gal (I didn’t catch her name) offered to help. We went back to the freezer cases where we met up with Dennis, and we all looked again.

Now there were two grocery managers scratching their heads too. And I was having a WTF afternoon.

I headed across the street to GFS Marketplace and solved the problem: I’ll cook off a 5-lb foodservice tray of Homestyle Chicken & Dumplings this evening. I can then dump this in the crock pot in the morning for Mary to take to work for her Lunch Bunch.

Now, check this out …

Marie Callender’s product page

Banquet product page

First off, I never knew both were owned by ConAgra.

At the moment, the paragraphs at the top of the Marie Callender’s page still shows “easy Crock-Pot® Meals”. However, there isn’t a single one in the list of 80 products. Go ahead. Search the page. They’re not there.

On the Banquet page both the Beef Pot Roast and Chicken & Dumplings are listed. However, try out the “Find Product At Store” link. For me, there are three stores within 25 miles for the Beef Pot Roast, and 5 stores within 25 miles for the Chicken & Dumplings … which aren’t as good as the Marie Callender’s, which is probably why they’re still out there for now. Still, it says they’re available at the Meijer on Alexis Rd. in north Toledo. I made the 7 mile drive and found nothing.

In this ConAgra news release from March 25, 2005 we find the following statements:

Sales for the new product Banquet Crock-Pot Classics, a complete frozen meal designed specifically for Crock Pots(TM), remain strong and are on track to approach $100 million of sales annually.

In another ConAgra press release from May 8, 2006 we find this:

Marie Callender’s(R) Crock-Pot Meals & Soups make the warmth and comfort of grandma’s slow cooking easy for everyday meals. Nearly half of all Americans (43 percent) list crock pots as a kitchen tool they rely on for simplifying meal preparation, as hearty, savory crock-pot meals remove the need for cooking time and give consumers time to enjoy themselves and their families …

Apparently there are no press releases regarding the products’ demise.

Ok, here’s a question for ConAgra …

WTF???

45 comments to Frozen Crock Pot Meals: Gone from Stores???

  • Carolyn

    Gee Dave, I didn’t realize they were gone either. Haven’t used them in ages (apparently :) ) But don’t you just hate when something is removed and you have no idea and no idea where else to find it! I went through a similar situation with a brand of shampoo~seems it’s no longer available either. Was I the only one who used it?

  • I haaaate when a product I love disappears. Unfortunately, it happens far too often. I always wish I had a little notice, so I could at least stockpile it! Hope you can figure out what’s up!
    Rebecca´s last blog post ..Nelson- 1- Rocky- 0

  • Sylvia

    Not fair!!! I love these meals!! Plus I know a lot of others who use them too! Marie Callendars, is/was one of the better brands too! That figures….and just when we’re heading toward colder weather! THAT’S when I like them the most! PLUS…they are the reason I bought a Crock Pot in the first place!!!!

  • Sheila Tuitele

    Hi! I had almost exactly the same experience this week. I went to 3 stores (Kroger, Safeway, Wal-mart) – looking for Banquet or Marie Callendars crock pot meals. I have bought them for years, but just not in the last few months (summer). I had 5+ employees searching. ALL GONE!

    I couldn’t believe it. 2 brands, 3 stores, nothing. Then I tried to buy frozen vegetables for the crock pot (something I have bought in the past) – also gone.

    I can’t figure it out.

    can you?

    Thanks!!!

  • Shannon225

    I use these pretty often since I’m a working mom their great! I’m in California and there is only 1 store ( out of about 30 ) that contuined to sell them in my area and yesturday I went to grab a few since there cheap… And they were gone and the worker didn’t even know they weren’t there anymore. I’m very displeased they need to bring them back..

  • Gin

    I live in California and shop at Stater Bros. I went so far as to ask the grocery store manager about the missing crock pot meals. He said that other customers had asked and that he attempted to special order the Marie Calendars meals, but they never came in. He asked if I would like to place a special order for the Banquet meals which I did. They have not come in either. I often wonder if there is another reason aside from profit when products are discontinued.

  • Alli

    I have been looking for the banquet chicken & dumplings crockpot meal for months, I live in OHIO and I shop at walmart and they have disappeared, I tried Giant Eagle and they are not there either, WHAT IS GOING ON??? I finally get back my diet sparking green tea, and they take away my crock pot meals, why cant stores keep things in stock!!!

  • Carolyn

    I checked my local Bel Air yesterday, no go. I would have asked a clerk to help me try to find them, but couldn’t find one anywhere.

  • Cyndi Morris

    My husband and I were especially fond of the Banquet Stroganoff Meatball Crock Pot Meal. It is no longer listed in their available products. Now that I may be going back to work, it would be especially convenient to have that cooking while I’m away. There are recipies for similar crock pot meals, but they require intensive work, which I was hoping to avoid. I, too, bought my crock pot to take advantage of these frozen crock pot meals. We are (or I should say I am) not particularly fond of the pot roast (beef stew like) or chicken and dumplings versions of the crock pot meals. We would really like to see the Frozen Banquet Stroganoff Meatball Crock Pot Meal return to the store shelves.

  • [...] October 5th I posted about my frustration in trying to locate a simple bag of either Banquet Crock-Pot Classics or Marie Callender’s [...]

  • robert brooks

    I think it’s unfair for a company to just quit making a good product. my wife sent me all over looking for the banquet crock pot dinners…I had no idea they were discontinued. That’s sad.

  • Judy Spano

    I have looked for them for the last month, Meijer, Walmart, Oakridge Markets, not a one to be found.

  • Sylvia

    I’m not at all happy about it! I purposely bought a crock pot to make these, and really enjoyed them! At first I thought people just weren’t buying them in the warmer months, though I still did! A great meal without heating up the kitchen. There are some other ‘wanna be’ brands out there, but not as good.

  • Kay Heddinger

    What happened to Banquet Crock Pot frozen meals????????? They were so good and I used them often. Haven’t been able to find them anywhere.

  • Lisa

    Yeah that figures! They could have given a couple months warning for those of us who DO enjoy those meals. We could have bought SEVERAL bags had we known they were going to be gone forever!

  • 3-17-2011
    Went to Krogers, Albertsons and superone and Macks in Alexandria, La.
    and not one place had crock pot meals. I have used them forever and
    will sure miss them.

  • mary ann k hartman

    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CROCK POT DINNERS WE ENJOYED??? I HAVE USED THE
    CROCK POT FOR 30 YEARS SINCE IT WAS NEW ON THE MARKET. I WAS ABLE TO
    HAVE A HOT MEAL FOR MY 3 CHILDREN WHEN I WORKED. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT
    TO HAVE A PRODUCT THAT IS EASY AND HEALTHY FOR THE WORKING MOTHER. YEARS AGO WE DID NOT HAVE FROZEN DINNERS FOR THE CROCK POT. WHY WOULD YOUR
    COMPANY STOP MAKING A PRODUCT THAT THE CONSUMER WANTS TO BUY AND WAS SO
    POPULAR FOR THE WORKING MOTHER OR ANYONE THAT DOES NOT HAVE THE TIME TO
    COOK. THE CROCK POT USES THE LEAST ENERGY. I FORMERLY HAD IT IN MY SHORE
    HOME AND PUT IT ON AT NIGHT AND THE NEXT MORNING IT SMELLED AND TASTY
    YUMMY. PLEASE CONSIDER AS IT WILL MAKE MY LIFE EASIER. THANK YOU

  • j florow

    wtf? why are they not available? you could at least answer this question. are you missing the boat? seems like a great market here.

  • kelly

    I walked thru the grocery store tonight looking for these frozen crock pot meals to have dinner for my husband tomorrow night while I work late…couldn’t find a single thing. I went on the internet on my phone and typed in “grocery store crock pot meals” and this link came up, I can’t believe they would do away with something that great.

  • kelly

    Forgot to say I live in Balimore, MD no luck out here…

  • Lellie

    Went to the store with request from my husband to purchase the chicken and dumplings that I know I had just purchased a couple months earlier and they were gone there also I love these to putbin the crock for my husband if I am not going to be home to make his dinner before work everyone there seemed to know what I was looking for but didn’t have the answer as to why they were gone so we left a message for the grocery manager at HyVee who finally got back to me and he said that he could no longer order them through his Banquet representative but he didn’t know why. My husband and I are both very disappointed they just made life a little easier

  • MARY BANNINGA

    I WANT MY CROCK POT CLASSICS BACK!!!I AM TICKED OFF THAT YOU WOULD REMOVE THEM FROM THE FROZEN SHELVES WITHOUT WARNING US.RETURN THEM NOW!!!!!

  • Greg

    My roommate and I have been looking for these for the past few months and couldn’t find them…between us working and being a college students we thought this would be excellent way to have dinner and lunch for the next day ready. We went to Walmart, Publix, Sweetbay and Winndixie…no luck and nobody knew what happened. Google searched and this came up; so I’m thinking i’ll try one of the stir-fry types and see if it comes out okay.

  • Steve

    WTF…not fair…wnet to three stores today…Vons, Stater Bros., and Albertsons…struck out…not happy about it…told my girlfriend today don’t worry i will cook dinner tonight counting on the easy to use frozen crock pot meals…I’m in SO CAL…this is lame…

  • Jim Barbour

    AS A RETIRED SENIOR, THE FROZEN CROCK POT MEALS WERE A VERY POPULAR STAPLE. PLEASE BRING ‘EM BACK.

  • Jenny Dudley

    Very unhappy about this…been searching store after store for awhile now. Crock pot dinners are easy,affordable,and tastey for the busy moms that have to work a full time job and juggle sports and other activities. As well as the other famileis out there that enjoy them. Very disappointing to know they would take these away from the consumers knowing it is a top seller!!

  • Always made Banquet chicken and dumplings a weekly staple during winter. I also went from store to store and nothing.

  • Sean

    Dear Mr. G,

    Thank you for your email concerning our Banquet Crock Pot Classics. While these meals were discontinued, we do have two new meals out that I think you would enjoy. Shipping the end of this month to Walmart stores only are the following:

    Banquet Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast 44oz UPC 3100010039
    Banquet Slow Cooker Meals Chicken & Dumplings 41.5oz UPC 3100010040

    Your comments are extremely valuable, and they help us make the food you love even better.

    Thanks again for your feedback. We really are listening!
    Sincerely,
    Teri
    Consumer Affairs Representative
    ConAgra Foods

  • Sylvia Koehnlein

    I certainly will be looking for these, and the other meals will soon follow. I used to make them all the time, they’ve been missed.

  • I added an update to the beginning of my original post, reproducing Sean’s note from ConAgra, so newbies know what’s going on. Thanks Sean!

  • Debbie

    I just want to say that I am looking forward to the chicken & dumplings coming back to Walmart. They were always a favorite of mine and I’ve had to make do with other brands but they didn’t compare. Thanks for listening and making us all very happy!

  • Staci

    What happened to popularity? I, like a lot of you, made these meals especially in the winter and now I can’t find them anywhere! I thought it was because we recently moved and they just didn’t carry this particular product in this part of the Unitied States but I guess eveyone else is out there looking too. Hoping for their return SOON. I just Checked online at my local Walmart and they are not in any Walmart’s within 50 miles.

  • Pat

    I too have been trying to find the Banquet slow cooker meals. The Chicken and Dumplin meal is awesome. I am retired,so these meals were absolutely wonderful. Please bring them back !!!!!!!

  • Carolyna

    UGH! so unhappy about this. I used these when I was working two jobs and it worked out great! Inbetween jobs I could still come home and enjoy a hot meal with my son. Now as I just started school full time and I’m still working full time I went looking for these meals and they were all gone : ( I like many of you are hopinh to see them return soon.

  • chris johnson

    I just bought them at walmart yesterday there back..Im so happy!!!!!!! Im dancing right now as i typed this. Now Im going to make sweet love to my wife then eat some chicken and dumplings!!!!

  • Thea Demmink

    I would love to see the crockpot dinners back in the store. We live in a retirement facility and the food is terrible. If I could use my crockpot we’d get some decent meals again.

  • Carole Ann

    The Banquet beef stew was the best. Tasted home-made.

  • cathy church

    i need my chicken & dumplings back they were delish.. i live in ashland ky & have been to kroger,walmart… no banquet crook pot chicken & dumplings.. please bring it back.. i dont eat this in summer but fall is up on us & i’m ready.. they taste just like my moms.. can u tell where i can find it..

  • margie Garnett

    I too have been looking for the chicken & dumplings. They are not at our Walmarts or any where else.

    I refuse to buy another Banquet dinner until, unless the item returns st the freezer dept. of the stores.

  • Greg

    Folks, I just made some Banquet Crock Pot chicken and dumplings this evening and they were as great as I remembered. I’m glad they are back. I bought them on an Air force base commissary. I didn’t know they had even brought them back and when I stumbled across them in my store, I almost crapped myself. I bought the last 3 pkgs. Now, I searched online, and Wal-Mart seems to be the stores that are carrying them….although, I haven’t seen them in the stores yet.

    Good luck! I can 100% verify the meals are back. Thank you Conagra Foods for listening to us!

  • Lyn Feldgarden

    I just read that the crock pot meals are back. I wish I had looked at the site sooner, but better late than never. I’m asking my daughter to stop at Walmart on her way home from work to get me some. Yum!
    1 haven’t used my crock pot since they left. My crock pot and me will be very happy. Thanks for listening to your customers.

    12

  • Teresa

    I am so thrilled and to top it off I shop at WalMart. I hope this website is accurate and I will find hm when I grocery shop again. I hope, I hope, I hope.

  • Jeff

    My wife and I are successfully buying the Chicken & Dumplings and also regularly see the Beef Pot Roast version available as well at our local Walmart in Troy, Ohio. It appears that this is a product exclusively sold at Walmart, so here’s one family very happy and successful in finding it our here in our neck of the woods. ConAgra, keep it coming!

  • JERREL JOHNSON

    DO YOU STILL MAKE BEEF TIP FROZEN DINNERS?
    I LIVE IN FORT WORTH TEXAS AND I CAN’T FIND THEM ANYWHERE.

  • Kim Halry

    OKAY….WHERE DID THEY GO? ABOUT A MONTH AGO I FOUND THE BEEF STEW CROCK POT MEAL IN MY LOCAL WALMART!!!! AND NOW THEY ARE GONE!!PLEADE PEOPLE OF CON AGRA FOODS, DO US ALL A FAVOR, BRING BACK ALL THE BANQUET CROCK POT MEALS!! THEY REALLY WERE A BLESSING TO MY FAMILY AND TO MANY EVENTS THAT CAME UP AT LAST MINUTE!!!