Food and Empire

Jayeeta Sharma

in The Oxford Handbook of Food History

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Food and Empire

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Between 1926 and 1933, the Empire Marketing Board used a myriad of advertisements, posters, exhibits, and films to promote the empire's food products to British homes. The publicity campaigns were intended to show that tea from India or fruit from Australia was not foreign, but also British. Whether the Board was successful in its bid to promote intra-imperial food consumption, indeed, whether those efforts were needed in the first place, was not clear. This article focuses on foods from Asia and America that were originally thought to be exotic in Europe, initially served as indicators of elite status, and their gradual dissemination downwards. It also examines the role of long-distance trade and modern technologies in the production and distribution of new agro-industrial foods across networks of imperial knowledge and commodity circulation. The article concludes by assessing the impact of global food corporations' domination in the contemporary era, which in many ways can be seen as the equivalent of the European and American empire of the past.

Keywords: food; empire; food consumption; Empire Marketing Board; Asia; America; Europe; trade; agro-industrial foods; food corporations

Article.  8257 words. 

Subjects: History ; Colonialism and Imperialism

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