Food Processing: A History

As we celebrate our birthday, we look back at the incredible changes that shaped the food and beverage industry since 1940.

By Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor

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The 90s – Packaging and globalization

Microwave packaging becomes more sophisticated and simulates conventional ovens for slow-cooking and browning. On the health front, food & beverage companies roll out nutraceutical and functional food products, energy bars, fortified drinks and fat-free, low-fat or reduced fat foods.

Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires all packaged foods to bear nutrition labeling, and all health claims for foods must be consistent with terms defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The food ingredient panel, serving sizes and terms such as "low fat" and "light" are standardized.

Coca-Cola introduces first bottle made with recycled plastic, an industry innovation.

Frito-Lay launches Sunchips, its first multigrain snack.

Nabisco introduces Snackwell line of reduced-fat baked goods.

Original Food PyramidUSDA introduces the first Food Guide Pyramid.

Nutrition Facts panel (from 1990) now is required.

China gets cheese-less Cheetos, the first time a major snack-food brand is changed in China for Chinese tastes.

Cadbury-Schweppes buys Snapple for $1.7 billion.

Cadbury Schweppes completes takeover of 7Up.

Betty Crocker's portrait is updated for the seventh time in eight decades, the latest rendition created in honor of her 75th birthday.

Cracker JackFrito-Lay buys the 104-year-old snack, Cracker Jack, the icon candy-coated mix of popcorn and peanuts, from Borden Foods Corp.

PepsiCo acquires Tropicana Products from Seagram Co. Ltd., the biggest acquisition ever undertaken by PepsiCo.

FDA approves two new cholesterol-lowering margarines -- Benecol (a plant stanol ester derived from pine trees) from McNeil Consumer Health Care and Take Control (a soybean extract plant sterol ester) from Unilever Plc's Lipton.

Dean Foods Co. introduces its Milk Chug plastic single-serve package, designed to counter flagging per capita fluid milk consumption.

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