After 1,000 microwave meals and 700 episodes of his popular YouTube series, Freezerburn, frozen food guru Gregory Ng has peeled back his last plastic film and slipped the sleeve off of his final Hot Pocket. The self-appointed Frozen Food Master abruptly quit on-camera in the middle of a review last Friday over an unhealthy kid's meal.
After building a successful brand reviewing frozen meals on camera, Ng became unhappy with the direction his venture had taken. The issue for Ng is less that many frozen meals are unhealthy—in fact, he points out that there are plenty of healthy options in your freezer section if your'e willing to look.
As the Frozen Food Master, I was able to uncover those gems in the freezer aisle that were great tasting and good for you with the added convenience that frozen meals provide. And when I reviewed things that were great tasting but not great for you, I feel like I represented the tradeoffs in eating them. Because of this, I feel like I promoted the frozen food industry in a positive but realistic way.
Speaking with AdWeek about his decision, Ng explains that he found himself feeling pressured to feature the less healthy frozen food options because they drew in larger audience numbers.
For example, I would review a Hot Pocket over a vegan Indian meal because I knew the views would be 10 times larger. I could have reviewed what I wanted, but that wasn't my goal. I was in it to build audience, prove that you could monetize by owning a niche and fine tune my camera presence.
Eventually I realized I accomplished those things and it wasn't good for me to continue down this path just for a little more revenue.
The last straw can be see in the video above in Ng's final review of a Kid Cuisine meal. He notes that he doesn't even recognize half the ingredients listed on the box and that the chicken nuggets in the meal are no more than "breading with a hint of chicken on the inside." On top of that, not only is the meal unhealthily—"we should not be feeding our kids this," he says—but he raised issue with the way the meal is marketed towards children. "The commercialization of the meal made me upset," Ng said.
Although he previously quit Freezerburn in 2012 for a short time, Ng says this time is for good. He's already at work on a new video series but it won't involve food reviews. "My next project will be online video-based but not necessarily capitalizing on an exploitable niche," he said.
Ng's decision is admirable. The internet is a weird place and it can be slippery slope to create content that's both entertaining and something you can feel good about. And all of that is complicated further when you find a financially successful niche. It'll be grat if Ng's next project allows him to entertain with a clear conscience.