Swanson is a brand of TV dinners, broths, and canned poultry made for the North American market. The TV dinner business is currently owned by Pinnacle Foods, while the broth business is currently owned by the Campbell Soup Company. Current TV dinner products sold under the brand include Swanson's Classics TV dinners and pot pies, and the current broth lineup includes chicken broth and beef broth.
The brand is named after Carl A. Swanson, a Swedish immigrant who moved to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1896. Around the turn of the century, Swanson formed a partnership with John Hjerpe and Frank Ellison called the Jerpe (sic) Commission Company which was eventually incorporated in 1905. The company focused on butter production and poultry. In 1928 over a decade after Ellison's death, Swanson bought out Hjerpe's interest.
During World War II Jerpe was one of the largest suppliers of poultry and eggs to the military. After the war ended, Jerpe was renamed C.A. Swanson & Sons. After Carl Swanson's death in 1949, his sons Gilbert and Clarke took over the company. The brothers introduced a frozen chicken pot pie a year later. Then in 1952, Swanson & Sons introduced their TV brand TV dinner, quickly selling 5,000 units in its first year. A year later the company had sold over 10,000,000 TV dinners. A year later, the company dropped its successful butter and margarine business to concentrate on a poultry-based line of canned and frozen products. In April 1955, Swanson's 4,000 employees and 20 plants were acquired by the Campbell Soup Company.
For the majority of it's run, Swanson sponsored the game show, The Name's the Same, with Robert Q. Lewis, alternating sponsorship with, first Bendix Home Appliance division of Avco; and then Johnson's Wax.
In a few 1980s and 1990s commercials for the TV dinner, the announcer was Mason Adams.
By the 1970s, the Swanson's brand trailed other frozen dinner brands such as Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine. Campbell Soup spun off Swanson's TV dinner business with several other brands, including the Vlasic brand of pickles on March 30, 1998 to a new company called Vlasic Foods International, whose name has been changed to Pinnacle Foods in 2001.
One of Carl A. Swanson's great-grandsons is the conservative pundit Tucker Carlson.