FOOD: Transforming the American Table

A Revolution in Food Shopping

Supermarkets transformed the food shopping experience by providing a wide variety of goods, self-service, and consistent pricing. Dependent on volume sales and a large customer base, supermarkets thrived in newly built suburban shopping centers that offered plenty of free parking, a necessity for car-dependent suburbanites.

Shopping center postcard, around 1960

Shopping center postcard, around 1960

Courtesy of Special Collections, Lakeland Public Library

Publix Super Markets built suburban strip malls in Florida, anchored by their own stores. Their supermarkets were early to offer air-conditioning, bright lighting, expansive frozen food cases, and magic-eye automatic doors.

Packaging designers, around 1960

Packaging designers, around 1960

Courtesy of Archives Center, National Museum of American History

With the rise in Americans’ purchasing power after the war and the increase in market competition, companies devoted more time, money, and resources to researching and designing packages to sell.