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Delicious Blasts from the Past: Vintage Food Ads

By JulieVR |

Since the very first food advertisement appeared in the sixteenth century – quickly following the invention of the printing press – advertising has had a huge influence on our food choices. Because the food industry represents such a large percentage of consumer spending, with shoppers making repeat purchases and developing loyalties to their favourite brands, food companies put big bucks into the promotion of their products – especially fast and convenience foods. A recent report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity estimates that in 2009, 189 fast food restaurants spent $4.2 billion on advertising across all media. Of course the ad world has evolved along with food production, and the campaigns you see today spread across multiple mediums, often featuring celebrity endorsements. Here’s a peek at how they did it in the good old days – and how some of today’s most popular brands got their start.

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Vintage food ads

Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix (1932)

"Men just can't resist 'em!" Aunt Jemima has been the standard for weekend pancake breakfasts for over a century, since Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood of the Pearl Milling Company developed the first ready mix in 1889. In 1926 Quaker Oats bought the company, and in 1933 for the Chicago World’s Fair they hired Anna Robinson to travel the country promoting Aunt Jemima until her death in 1951.
Try using the mix to make cinnamon roll pancakes!

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About JulieVR



Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of five best-selling cookbooks, food editor of Parents Canada magazine, a CBC Radio columnist and a freelance writer. Her award-winning blog, Dinner with Julie documents life in her home kitchen in Canada with her husband and 7-year-old son. Read bio and latest posts → Read Julie's latest posts →

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