How Jell-O molds society and how society molds Jell-O: a case study of an American food industry creation
By: Rosemarie Dorothy Bria
Published: 1991
Uploaded: 10/18/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Cookery (Gelatin), Gelatin, history, marketing

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Description/Abstract:
ABSTRACT
HOW JELL-O MOLDS SOCIETY AND HOW SOCIETY MOLDS JELL-O: A CASE STUDY OF AN AMERICAN FOOD INDUSTRY CREATION
Rosemarie Dorothy Bria
The purpose of this study is to explore the societal impact of the development and marketing of a hundred year old food product, Jell-O brand gelatin.
The study made use of a variety of materials obtained from the General Foods Corporation and other sources. Representative materials include recipe booklets, advertisements, press kits, marketing plans and laboratory reports.
After a description of the Jell-O formula and processing, the history is organized by marketing theme: children, women, health and nutrition, Latino-American market, and Kosher market.
It was found that Jell-O marketing has viewed children as either motivators of the purchase of Jell-O by their mothers, as symbols of the ease of Jell-O preparation or as consumers. Women have been depicted as inept homemakers, efficient Domestic Scientists or ˘Old÷ or ˘New÷ ˘Traditional Women.÷ Health care was the first specialized market to be exploited by Jell-O. General Foods views Latino-Americans as possessing demographic and lifestyle characteristics favoring high Jell-O consumption. Jell-O has also been successful in the Kosher market segment despite the fact that the gelatin in Jell-O is generally derived from pig hides.
Jell-O is then discussed in the context of major challenges confronted by todayĂs Nutrition Educator. Jell-OĂs emergence and success as a food product is used to explore the changes in the nature of our food supply, the changes in the nature of humanityĂs relationship to the natural world, and changes in the role of women as it relates to both of these.
Nutrition educators should be aware of the far-reaching influence a novel food and the industry behind it can have on a population. Jell-O is the quintessential example of how a simple add-on food novelty can have long-term impact on our food supply and food consumption habits.


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