Anna Zeide, 2018, Canned: The rise and fall of consumer confidence in the American food industry
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Canned is about the ways the American canners shaped consumers’ trust since the nineteenth century. The author, Anna Zeide, moreover exposes how by doing so the canners laid the foundation upon which is built the modern processed food business, and how “machinations beyond the view of the consumers were critical” (p. 3) in this process. To do so, Anna Zeide dissects the construction and the evolution of the networks canners created around them, at the core of which resides the National Canners Association (NCA), a trade association created in 1907 and today known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).
Although not explicitly presented as such, this ambitious work is divided in two parts. The first one is focused on the forms of external legitimization sought by the canners until the First World War. The second one exposes a major shift in the industry’s tactics: the reduced importance given to external agents, controls, and regulations as sources of legitimacy, and the many...