The Main Course interviews Andy Smith
In an interview on Heritage Radio Network’s show The Main Course Andy Smith discusses some of the 30 turning points in American food from his book, Eating History.
In the interview he touches on topics as varied as the invention of canned food, the rise of snack foods, the beginning of national marketing and advertising campaigns to create demand for a product, the use of food as a weapon during the civil war, the rise of organic gardening, how and why hamburgers became so popular in America, and the advent of the TV dinner.
Here’s what Andy has to say on how advertising and food marketing took off in America:
The problem with canned food was you can’t see inside, the glass jar you can look inside and see if it’s good or not. When you have a tin can you really can’t do that, so they began advertising and putting the types of things that should appear inside the can so that when you bought the canned food you would think you were eating or drinking the food that was labeled. But the real advertising, it starts with Quaker Oats. Here’s a food that no real American would eat. It was animal food. Oats were grown here for animals and they had a problem. How do you promote oats, in this case, Quaker Oats, as a product to the public? At the time when they began their advertising, in the late nineteenth century, normally you had to sell to each local grocery store and there were 50,000 local grocery stores in America. So the goal was to hit the customer and have the customer demand Quaker Oats from the local grocery store.