What Happened To Ina Garten's Ready-To-Eat Frozen Meal Line?

We love Ina Garten for many reasons — she reminds us of our closest down-to-earth friends (if they could make a killer chocolate cake, that is), and countless fans have declared her recipes to be foolproof. And even though she's given to saying, "Store-bought is fine," she doesn't often endorse products.

But back in 2013, Garten did lend her name to a line of frozen entrees; the ready-made meals were branded "Barefoot Contessa Sauté Dinners for Two" and were said to have been made with her favorite recipes, using the "best quality ingredients." Garten herself announced the launch on Facebook, saying: "About a year ago, I decided to see if I could make delicious dinners that could be available in the freezer of your grocery store. I find that most frozen dinners are bland, and all the ingredients have the same texture, and I wanted to figure out how to make dinners with great ingredients and bright, fresh flavors." And she did.

Garten was said to be involved in every step of the frozen line's execution, from its flavors on down. There were nine to choose from, including Penne Pasta with Five Cheeses, Tequila Lime Chicken, Pasta Carbonara with Pancetta, and Jambalaya. The meals were even prepared at a LEED-Gold Certified "green" plant, meaning the facility was built with sustainability in mind. The meals weren't widely available but could be found in Safeway, Meijer, Publix, and Price Chopper when sold. 

Ina Garten was unhappy with the quality of the frozen entreés

Though Garten stood by the product and even invited fans to suggest new flavors to add to the line, the company commissioned to make them was eventually sold off. When the new owners didn't produce the meals according to Garten's specifications, she pulled her endorsement and decided to end her association with the firm.

The branded frozen entreé line was not the only product licensing venture Garten had undertaken. Two years before, she debuted 30 breakfast and dessert mixes, exclusively available at Sur La Table and Crate & Barrel under the "Barefoot Contessa" label. The mixes included the flavors Outrageous Brownie Cookie and Red Velvet Layer Cake, but these, too, disappeared with little explanation. 

And in 2015, she pursued litigation with a company named O.F.I. Imports, which was selling meals labeled "Contessa Chef Inspired." Leveraging her celebrity and perhaps even the success of the meal options that had suddenly disappeared, Garten claimed that the product was confusing grocery shoppers. O.F.I. Imports settled the case and "agreed to destroy all unauthorized Barefoot Contessa products and to ensure that future products sold under O.F.I.'s Contessa brand not use any Barefoot Contessa intellectual property."