FOOD: Transforming the American Table

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 after 1950. 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 those who could afford them. 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.