Food Labeling: The Hype Hasn’t Really Changed!

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “Able to Read a Label” from Food Allergies Rock! by Kyle Dine. Released: 2010

"Crisco" "Crisco fried foods are so digestible you can eat them 7 days a week!" (Photo Credit:  acloseintellectual.blogspot.com)

“Crisco” “Crisco fried foods are so digestible you can eat them 7 days a week!” (Photo Credit: acloseintellectual.blogspot.com)

In 1906 in the USA, The Pure Food and Drug Act was enacted by the Federal Government, and was the first of a series of consumer protection laws. Eventually, it led to the current Food and Drug Administration that we know today. Yet, if one looks at the “hype” around food labeling, manufacturers are still touting their products in much the same way they have been since the 1920’s.

Today we can find gluten free, wheat free, low-fat and low cholesterol food products. One can get low carb foods or be warned that foods that “may contain traces of peanuts”. Search around and you’ll find low calorie, low sodium, sugar free and low protein snacks. One can easily go organic, high fibre, all natural, multigrain, or with zero trans fat. Foods advertise that they support the immune system, come from free range animals, are light/lite, made with real fruit and no added sugar. High in Omega 3 fatty acids may be your thing, or foods that are modified, fat free, fortified, enriched, or are an excellent source of, well, something. You can go with foods that are lean, extra lean, with antioxidants, that are a good source of fiber and high in calcium. Some foods say they may reduce the risk of (insert the name of a disease here), are doctor recommended, made with natural goodness, low in saturated fat, salt free and hopefully, kid approved. Whew.

But, is it really so different from earlier manufactured food products in terms of labeling? The producers may not have known then about Omega 3 fatty acids, or antioxidants, or were unable to produce sugar-free or salt free canned goods, but they sure did know how to appeal to the buyer. Too, many labels advertised the “medicinal” effects of their products (like now!): “aids digestion”, of value in “the Diabetic and Tubercular”, “the most digestible…”, etc. Below are a few examples from earlier food labeling in this country:

Perfect baking at all times” (Town Crier Family Flour, 1930’s)

 

Fortunately, this is an ad parody (2002) by R.J. White!  (Photo Credit:  www.museumofhoaxes.com)

Fortunately, this is an ad parody (2002) by R.J. White! (Photo Credit: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com)

Inexpensive, even and so high in quality” (Jell-O, 1920’s)

 

"Cottolene" "Shortens your Food, Lengthens your Life" (contains no hog fat!)

“Cottolene” “Shortens your Food, Lengthens your Life” (contains no hog fat!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides tempting flavor, marvelous food values – protein, energy units, Vitamin A, plus calcium, phosphorus and other precious milk minerals” (Kraft Cheese, 1938)

 

Gelatine aids digestion and is valuable in combination with milk for infants…real value too, in the Diabetic and Tubercular……as well as Liquid and Soft Diets for the sick room” (Knox Gelatine, 1930)

 

"Blue Label Ketchup" "pure and unadulterated...handled by experienced chefs in a scientific way in sanitary kitchens"

“Blue Label Ketchup” “pure and unadulterated…handled by experienced chefs in a scientific way in sanitary kitchens”

Macaroni is an excellent source of food energy for growing children. Under normal conditions it is almost completely digested, leaving practically no waste” (Fontana Products, 1930’s)

 

Foods properly fried in Spry are as easy to digest as if baked or boiled” (Spry Foods, 1930‘s)

 

100% pure sap of the maple tree is used in making this maple syrup with nothing added “(Reynolds Sugar Bush, 1950’s)

 

Pure and wholesome. The phosphates are natural components of meat and grains and are food elements necessary for the maintenance of health. …a deficiency results in loss of strength and consequent health” (Rumford Baking Powder, 1920’s)

 

“…the most digestible shortening you can buy” (Wesson Oil ,1955)

 

Healthier…the acid action of the powdered buttermilk in Dairy Maid is so mild that I believe it is much healthier and will not hurt your stomach (from a well-known Southern prize winner)” (Dairy Maid baking powder, 1920‘s or 1930‘s)

 

"Ovaltine" "For instant sleep when you go to bed - for Vigorous Days"

“Ovaltine” “For instant sleep when you go to bed – for Vigorous Days”

Clabber Girl – the healthy baking powder – gives appetite to all – tested and approved by the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation and Health 1931.……creates a keen appetite inducing gastric juices to extract from such foods the life-giving substances that nourish the human body” (Clabber Girl Baking Powder, 1931)

 

 

“…complete digestibility and absolute purity. In Runkel’s cocoa doctors and nurses know that they have found a pure and nourishing food” (Runkel’s Cocoa, 1920’s)

 

Highly unsaturated and rich in dietary essential fatty acids” (Mazola corn oil, 1957)

 

"Ralston" "A little care in the diet will keep children well and happy.  Medicines will not"

“Ralston” “A little care in the diet will keep children well and happy. Medicines will not”

The ferment element in cheese carries lactic acid to the digestive tract and rids the system of toxic impurities” (Meadow Grove Cheese, 1920s)

 

"Blue Label Soups" "Made in clean kitchens, by skilled and experienced chefs"

“Blue Label Soups” “Made in clean kitchens, by skilled and experienced chefs”

This is health insurance of such vital importance that millions of women bake at home just to be sure that Royal Baking Powder is used” (Royal Baking Powder Co., 1925)

"Campbell's" "Appetizing, nourishing, economical"

“Campbell’s” “Appetizing, nourishing, economical”

"National Oats" "Makes Kids Husky"

“National Oats” “Makes Kids Husky”

"Campbell's" "Healthy Request Soup"

“Campbell’s” “Healthy Request Soup”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the changes in food production laws and labeling over the past years, food labels continue to be a pitch by manufacturers to lure us into buying their products. Whether it be “…low in saturated fat and cholesterol, lightly sweetened, more grains. Less you! Can help you manage your weight” (Multi Grain Cheerios, 2014), or a product that “…creates a keen appetite inducing gastric juices to extract from such foods the life-giving substances that nourish the human body” (Clabber Girl Baking Powder, 1931), we seem to look at food labels as a panacea for all of our bodily issues, from managing weight loss to avoiding heart attacks. That much hasn’t changed.

"Morrell" "Morrell E-Z Serve Liver Loaf - Rich in B Vitamins!  Be Vital, Be Vigorous!" (Photo Credit:  www.artskoddamage.blogs)

“Morrell” “Morrell E-Z Serve Liver Loaf – Rich in B Vitamins! Be Vital, Be Vigorous!” (Photo Credit: http://www.artskoddamage.blogs)

(Note: Readers may also be interested in my post on food adulteration: Pebbles in Your Peas? Strychnine in Your Stout? (February 27th, 2014)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Advertisements

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,124. What next? More shelves!
This entry was posted in Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Eating, Food Trends, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s