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Department of Marketing Seminar Series - Professor Ai Hisano

Department of Marketing Seminar Series - Professor Ai Hisano

Reimagining the Natural: Food Safety, Coloring Regulation, and the Creation of a New Market

The control of color had been a critical part of manufacturing and marketing strategies in the food industry at least since the late nineteenth century. But color management became more challenging for food businesses in the 1960s and 1970s. In analyzing controversies over synthetic food dyes, the rise of consumer activism, and food safety regulation, I will explore how food manufacturers and dye makers envisioned and negotiated a balance between safety and profitability. I will focus particularly on the United States since the country was the largest consumer of color additives in the world at the time. As the use of chemical substances, including food dyes, rapidly increased, consumer activists and government officials began questioning the safety of coloring foods and revisited the issue of the naturalness of foods.

With the emergence of social and cultural criticism denouncing consumer capitalism as wasteful and unhealthy, standardized food products colored with synthetic dyes began to be a liability for food manufacturers. While advocating the use of "natural dyes" derived from plant-based substances, however, consumer activists continued to accept the case for food coloring. The upshot was that food manufacturers, consumers, and legislatures reinvented the concept of naturalness. This did not mean a reversion to the past, but rather a re-imagination of the natural in the context of highly mechanized manufacturing processes and advances in modern science. Food safety issues during the 1960s and 1970s laid the groundwork for the government's food coloring regulation and the industry's color management strategies today.

Date Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Time 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Audience All University
Event Category Business
Event Type Departmental Seminar
LocationOtago Business School, Room 4.26
Contact NameDr John Williams, Seminar Series Coordinator
Contact Phone+64 3 479 5040

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