Industrial Food

Gabriella M. Petrick

in The Oxford Handbook of Food History

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729937
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Industrial Food

Show Summary Details


The years between 1880 and 1930 have been characterized not only as "Hell with the lid taken off" but also as a consumer revolution. Until recently, however, little attention has been paid to how industrialization changed the foods available to Americans. This article examines what Americans were eating in the first half of the twentieth century. It first defines industrial foods as foods that are mass produced in a factory setting and require no or very little cooking to make them edible. These foods are also packaged which make them highly portable. Examples of industrial foods are commercially canned goods; frozen foods; ice cream; breads, cakes, and pies purchased at bakeries and/or groceries and supermarkets; cake mixes; hot and cold cereals; instant mashed potatoes; pastry/pie shell mixes; and jams and jellies. Industrial foods are considered products of the Cold War and the Baby Boom Generation, rather than the Gilded Age or the Progressive Era. This article also discusses home economics, food consumption, and the national diet.

Keywords: industrialization; industrial foods; canned goods; frozen foods; ice cream; Cold War; Baby Boom Generation; home economics; food consumption; national diet

Article.  8924 words. 

Subjects: History ; Business History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.