Factors influencing the emergence and acceptance of food innovations in twentieth century America
By: Mary Anne Anselmino
Published: 1986
Uploaded: 10/18/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Advertising, Food, Food industry and trade, history, United States

Mary Anne Anselmino
This study examines the factors that have influenced the emergence and acceptance of food innovations in twentieth century America. The years 1929-1953 serve as the primary focus. Insights regarding social, economic and technological changes were drawn from secondary sources. Because few comprehensive and authoritative sources existed on the history of advertising, the trade journals, Advertising and Selling and Printers∆ Ink were surveyed. Advertisements for eight categories of food which appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine were reviewed to identify how new products were brought to the attention of homemakers. Advice offered in the food articles of Good Housekeeping and in home economics books is also presented.
The study reveals that the urbanization of the population created food consumers out of food producers. As the century progressed, corporate kitchens assumed a greater role in food preparation. Once the food industry reached near saturation regarding the quality and sanitation that could be built into mass-produced food, labor saving innovations were recognized as a way to build sales. Technological developments made this increasingly possible. Rising incomes, the increasing opportunity cost of one∆s time and growing negative attitudes toward food preparation helped create consumer demand for the new foods. Some of the home economists were shown to have a role in eroding traditional values about food preparation. Industry also had a role in fostering negative attitudes toward food preparation and to some extent in emphasizing the opportunity cost associated with food preparation. Even before women were entering the labor force, food ads told them of the enjoyable times that could be theirs if they spent less time involved in food preparation. The study revealed that to date, researchers have failed to support the hypothesis that the dramatic rise in the employment of married women has resulted in an increase in convenience food use.
The study concludes with a discussion of the vulnerabilities inherent in the food system that has evolved. Recommendations for strengthening the system are presented. Suggestions for the reconceptualization of nutrition education are also made.

Sponsor: Joan Gussow
Dissertation Committee: Isobel Contento
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University