Democratizing Luxury and the Contentious 'Invention of the Technological Chicken' in Britain

Posted: 31 Jul 2009

See all articles by Andrew Godley

Andrew Godley

University of Reading

Bridget Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 28, 2009

Abstract

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, N84

Suggested Citation

Godley, Andrew and Williams, Bridget, Democratizing Luxury and the Contentious 'Invention of the Technological Chicken' in Britain (July 28, 2009). Business History Review, Vol. 83, No. 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1440355

Andrew Godley (Contact Author)

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

Bridget Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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