Banquet was founded in 1953, with the introduction of frozen meat pies. Banquet first hit the store shelves in 1955, offering frozen dinners. Soon after that, Banquet became popular with their Cookin' Bags products. In 1970, the company was purchased by RCA, which in turn sold it to Con-Agra in 1980.
Banquet is known primarily for a frozen breaded chicken, but expanded into other chicken products over the years, including chicken pot pies, chicken nuggets, ready-to-heat microwavable dinners and buffalo wings. In 2004, Banquet introduced Homestyle Bakes – ready to bake dinner kits in 11 varieties, as well as Dessert Bakes – no-bake pie and cake mixes. With the 2007 sale of former Con-Agra division Swift & Company to JBS USA, the popular frozen breakfast sausage line formerly known as "Swift Premium Brown & Serve" was briefly re branded under the Armour name, then to "Banquet Brown & Serve" by the end of 2009.
On October 11, 2007, food manufacturer Con-Agra asked stores to pull its Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies due to 152 cases of salmonella poisoning in 31 states being linked to the consumption of Con-Agra pot pies, with 20 people hospitalized. A final report by the CDC determined that there were 401 cases across 41 states, with approximately one-third of all cases resulting in hospitalization. By October 12, a full recall was announced, affecting all varieties of frozen pot pies sold under the brands Banquet, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer, and Western Family Foods. The recalled pot pies included all varieties in 7-oz. single-serving packages bearing the number P-9 or “Est. 1059” printed on the side of the package. When the pies returned to the market, cooking temperature requirements for serving were made more apparent on the packaging; competitor brands also followed suit.
- Ogle, M. (2013). In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-15-101340-1.
- "Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Associated with Frozen Pot Pies --- United States, 2007". United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 28, 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2015.