Not all stores promise that the prepared meals they sell are fresh and not processed. But that’s certainly the implication; by going to a bustling counter with chef-like personnel, you might think you’re getting a meal that’s something close to homemade in the traditional sense of the word.
But you’d be wrong to assume that there are always cooks in the back peeling and mashing potatoes or dipping chicken cutlets into egg and breadcrumbs. In fact, only about half of the prepared meals we purchased for our tests were made on the premises, according to the store clerks who were quizzed by our secret shoppers.
Others “provide meal solutions that consumers perceive to be fresh but in fact have been delivered frozen [to the supermarket] and are reheated in the store ‘kitchen,’ ” according to a report from the consulting and research firms A.T. Kearney and Technomi..
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In addition to concerns about health, some consumers may simply feel that “fresh” means that a dish was made on the premises. In fact, a group of shoppers in New Jersey brought a class-action lawsuit against three supermarket chains last year, saying that claims that their baked goods were made in-house were misleading because the products were actually delivered to the stores frozen or partially baked, then reheated. The judge dismissed the case because it didn’t meet the requirements for a class-action lawsuit, but it suggests how seriously some consumers take those claims.
****(found this info on yahoo health)****