FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

New and Improved!

Detail of baby carrot processing

 

Americans were greeted by claims of “New and Improved!” on more and more foods and consumer goods during the second half of the 20th century. Scientific approaches to farming and manufacturing brought higher yields and an abundant, affordable food supply. New appliances in the home that demanded greater energy consumption symbolized a prosperous, postwar American way of life for many. Optimistic attitudes about “progress” and “better living” continued throughout the century, even as many raised questions about the long-term effects of mass production and consumerism, especially on the environment, health, and workers.