Some Things Don’t Change: Vintage Food Ads

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I bumped into a vintage ad for margarine this morning, which led me on a hunt to find more. I was struck by how the processed food industry’s main marketing message seems to be that their foods are natural, have wonderful flavor, and are healthy. *cough cough* Some things don’t change, do they? For more on this topic, read Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry.

I picked five of my “favorites” to share with you. Visit Vintage Ads for more (including non-food ads) or do a google image search. I’m warning you, you’re likely to waste an hour or so. ;)

Click on an image for the full size.

1940 Kraft Old English (source) — pasteurized for your protection and always cooked perfectly? Pasteurized milk is more dangerous than raw and I’ll take my homemade cheddar any time!

Kool-aid 1949 (source) — I’m not sure I’m even going to comment on this one. I’ll stick to homemade probiotic ginger ale or bubbly probiotic water kefir, thank you.

Mazola (source) — This is a tub (or, bottle) of lies. Read The Skinny on Fats (web article), the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat, take my class Fundamentals II, or watch the video Big Fat Lies.

Oscar Mayer “Sack-o-Sauce in a Can-o-Meat” (source) — Fresh cooked flavor? Hardly.

Margarine 1948 (source) — When margarine first came on the market, it was against the law to color it yellow (so as not to compete with the dairy industry) unless the manufacturer paid a fine or people colored it themselves. This ad claims discrimination against margarine! Are you kidding me?

What thoughts come to mind when you see these ads? Do you think the food industry has changed its basic advertising approach or not?

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  1. says

    My Grandma used to tell me about when they would get a big tub of oleo and it came with a little container of yellow liquid to mix in with it to make it look like butter.

  2. says

    If you notice the subtle words: “digestible”, “fresh”, “taste”- you can tell they are trying to sell you an imitation of the real, natural thing.

  3. Kirsten says

    Truly a sign of those times. My aunt tells of those “kneading the oleo packets”, sugar rations, tire rations, coffee rations… The real thing was needed for our men fighting over-seas. When my mother in law was young the feds showed up on their farm while 8 kids ran around & her father was fighting in France. They shot the family milk cow citing “public health”. This was not an isolated incident and it caused the family to nearly starve. Her mother fed a family of 10 each night with one chicken. Amazing! We need to keep our eyes open and stubbornly cling to our God-given rights to our own, pure food. Thank you for continuing that fight.

  4. Katherine Jenson says

    I love old things and these are a hoot! However, it does show how the marketing turned a lot of our grandparents/parents towards “uncomplicated food” to chemicals and well, the health issues we have to deal with today. They mystery meat was my favorite! Wow! Thanks for posting these. I do remember buying Kool Aid for five cents a pack and drinking gallons of it….well, explains a lot!

  5. Kate says

    Whoa! That is all nuts! All those foods make me want to throw up (well… except for maybe the koolaid but that’s only because I [unfortunately] grew up on the stuff).

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