Democratizing Luxury and the Contentious 'Invention of the Technological Chicken' in Britain
University of Reading
affiliation not provided to SSRN
July 28, 2009
Business History Review, Vol. 83, No. 2
In 1950, poultry comprised 1 percent of the total meat consumed in Britain. But over the next thirty years, chicken consumption grew at the rate of 10 percent per annum, while overall meat consumption remained stagnant. By 1980, poultry made up a quarter of the total share of the market, replacing beef, mutton, and bacon in the British diet. This transformation was made possible by dramatic changes in production, dependent on technological innovations across several unrelated sectors. While the widespread distribution of cheap chicken led to its mass adoption, the transformation in meat-eating habits was not without its controversies. The leading retailers, in particular J. Sainsbury, acted as critical intermediaries in this contested market, reconciling consumer uncertainty by attaching their own reputations to product quality, and then by intervening in the quality standards employed in their supply chains.
Keywords: poultry, meat, supermarket, supply chain, food technology
JEL Classification: L66, Q18, N84Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 31, 2009
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