How America’s Obsession with Bacon Began in Canajoharie, New York
How and when did America become obsessed with bacon? It all began with Canajoharie, New York's Beech-Nut.
The Mohawk Valley village of Canajoharie was the home of Beech-Nut a food company known for a wide array of products like baby food and its namesake chewing gum.
Bacon's beginnings as one of the county's most craved meats happened in the 1920s. Prior to the Roaring 20s, breakfast was a simple, small meal. However Beech-Nut, which produced primarily ham and bacon from its founding in 1891, was looking for a way to boost sagging sales. Enter marking genius Edward Bernays. Bernays devised a plan to have doctors endorse a 'hearty' breakfast that included at its heart bacon. Beech-Nut bacon. According to AmericanTable.org,
Beech-Nut wanted to increase consumer demand for bacon. Bernays turned to his agency’s internal doctor and asked him whether a heavier breakfast might be more beneficial for the American public. Knowing which way his bread was buttered, the doctor confirmed Bernays suspicion and wrote to five thousand of his doctors friends asking them to confirm it as well. This ‘study’ of doctors encouraging the American public to eat a heavier breakfast – namely ‘Bacon and Eggs’ – was published in major newspapers and magazines of the time to great success. Beech-Nut’s profits rose sharply thanks to Bernays and his team of medical professionals.
So next time someone goes bonkers for bacon, know that their hankering hearkens back to Upstate New York's Mohawk Valley and Canajoharie's Beech-Nut Packing Company.
This is Edward Bernays, the man who manipulated your love of bacon, describing how the campaign worked.
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