1950s Food Trends

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Matas Buivydas

The change in consumption of food over many years has drastically impacted the health of the U.S population, as well as changed the culture of America. There is a possibility that the consumption factor is due to the fluctuation in price level of food. There are many recent studies that have showcased the decrease in real food prices over time, which is a possible main contributor for the rise in obesity. Prices and the value of money has changed overtime, but with the ratio of income to the current prices of fast food in today’s society, it has greatly caused a change in consumption and health. In the 1950’s, many of the major fast food chains had originated or grown more popular. Fast food restaurants enlarged its existence in the culture of the 1950’s, as the demand for quick and cheap food grew without the consideration of health and nutrition. Consumers became busier, needing food quickly at work, or they had wanted to eat quick-made food in front of their newly innovative TV’s. Innovation of new products enhanced the development of fast foods and restaurants, only creating the culture of fast food concrete.

Fast food chains such as Dunkin Donuts originated in the 1950’s, along with the renowned fast food restaurant, McDonald’s. Although McDonald’s opened in the 1940’s, it began to expand greatly in the late 1950’s, when an entrepreneur named Ray Kroc visited the McDonald’s trying to sell his innovative product. Instead of trying to sell his product, he became invested in the chain, and opened up a franchise that forever changed McDonald’s – ultimately making it the world’s largest fast food restaurant. McDonald’s restaurants had many imitators follow, but none of them “could match the success of the McDonald’s formula for fast food” (Dunar, Andrew 172).

One of the early few Dunkin Donuts chains in the early 1950’s

The culture of fast food started to take off in other different food niches as well. The fast food industry did not only pertain to coffee shops and burgers, but also foods such as pizza and fried chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in 1952, later followed by Pizza Hut and Domino’s in the late 50’s, that still exist and compete with one another in the modern day. This fast food boom had not only created a whole new market for consumers and food production, but also for medical purposes as well later to be realized in the future. Although fast food is cheap and quick, the innocent ignorance of health in relation to the nutrition in these foods rose, causing many of the older generations to have health problems, such as obesity and high cholesterol. This culture carried out into the modern day where even children, teenagers, and young adults are consumed by the fast food market, and also becoming unhealthy, causing much of the population to be obese. Today, many of these fast food restaurants still exist; more are developing today with the highly competitive market of food. The 1950’s greatly influenced the United States culture today, allowing for certain markets and possibilities to open up and flourish, without understanding the built up consequences of health.

Works Cited

Christian, Rashad, Thomas, Inas. “Economics & Human Biology – Trends in U.S. Food Prices, 1950–2007.” Trends in U.S. Food Prices, 1950–2007, Elsevier, Mar. 2009, gold.worcester.edu:2086/science/article/pii/S1570677X08000634.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

5 Responses to “1950s Food Trends”

  1. Amanda Babbitt says:

    It’s interesting that so many places that people eat at today started so long ago. Domino’s, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are places that most people in the United States would know what they are but probably few people know that they started 60 to 70 years ago. Today it is so common for teens to go out to a fast food restaurant because they are all around so they are easily accessible and they are cheap so teens with a minimum wage job can afford to eat there every so often. I couldn’t imagine life today without fast food restaurants. When you need something quick it is so convenient to have them around despite the horrible nutritional value they have.

  2. Erin McCormack says:

    This was a really interesting post to read about considering that much of the American lifestyle unfortunately revolves around food, most of which is unhealthy. The establishments that you discussed are still popular today and commercials and advertisements for these chains appear over every form of media constantly. Especially in and around Boston, Dunkin Donuts, today, is a huge business and for many people, part of their daily routine. The idea of teenagers having access to cars propelled fast food to popularity, and it is still something that is part of teenagers daily lives today. I know many kids that went to my high school who had to stop at Dunkin Donuts before school everyday, and without the 1950s generating these trends, our society would look a lot different.

  3. Meagan Sebastiao says:

    This is a very interesting blog post and topic. I never would have considered fast food chains to have started as far back as the 1950s and to have such a large affect on society and how they operate today. It’s fascinating to notice that, like Amanda said, so many of the chain restaurants we go to today, or even every day, started around the 1950s. In the past, what we call fast food chains, were the nicer restaurants of the 1950s as families didn’t eat out as often as in society now. Teenagers can afford to go to these fast food chains every single day for a coffee or a quick lunch.

  4. Jenna Goodreau says:

    I found it interesting that so many of the fast food restaurants we eat at every day have been around since our parents and maybe even grandparents were kids.I think a lot of the popularity of these restaurants is due to the fact that so many families are constantly on the go. I don’t know if it was just my family, but most of the time when I was a kid, the times when I would get fast food is when my brother and I had after school activities that my parents had to drive us all around town for. Fast food is just very convenient and cheap compared to an at home meal. It is also sad that although most of these chains have negative affects on our health, a large percent of the population still get food or drinks from them multiple times a week or even multiple times a day. It will be interesting to see how the industry will change in the future.

  5. Emily Clemente says:

    I find it to be interesting that these fast food chains you discussed in your post are still very popular today. Like Erin said, the American lifestyle truly does revolve around food. These fast food chains were introduced in the 1950s and they are still a very large part of daily lives of many individuals. The creation of the automobile made these fast food items very accessible to many people. The automobile allowed for fast food chains to flourish and the diet trends of many Americans to change.