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An easy sell? The introduction of a deep frozen food system in Sweden 1945-1970
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Deep frozen food was one of the most important technological developments when the distribution system was modernised and rationalised in the post WW2 era. While the technique of cold storage and transports was developed and used already in the late 19th century, the boom in consumption of deep frozen food relied on the development of a unbroken distribution chain of frozen food from the producer to the final consumer, and this development did not take place in earnest in Europe until the 1940s and 1950s.

Similar to the case of self-service Sweden was one the prime movers in Europe concerning the development of a system for deep frozen food. Pioneers such as Findus, producer of vegetables and berries, started production of deep frozen food already in the mid 1940s, while the major actors in the grocery trades started constructing cold stores in the late 1940s.

The real challenge was however to convince the retailers and the customers (both private and commercial) to adopt the new technique and the new products and ultimately to install freezing equipment in the stores and in their homes or in restaurants and canteens. This development was more gradual over the 1950s and 1960s, although there was an explosion of the consumption of deep frozen food in the 1950s.

Similar to the development of self-service in Sweden, a number of actors was involved in the lobbying for and also practical development of the system of deep frozen food. One important actor was the producers of equipment for deep frozen products. Other actors involved were of course the producers, wholesalers and retailers of deep frozen food. Trade associations such as the Bureau for Deep Freezing was linking all above actors with for instance the The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, while also the trade associations of the retailers and wholesalers were active in the development process.

The aim of this paper is to study the Swedish discussion surrounding the system of deep frozen food 1945-1970. I will use journals and possibly also business archives from the actors involved in the discussion. The study will show what arguments for and possibly also against deep frozen food that was used in order to further the development of the system of deep frozen food in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-163294OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-163294DiVA: diva2:463553
Chord conference. Food and Beverages: Retailing, Distribution and Consumption in Historical Perpective, Telford, UK, September 7-8, 2011
Ett regionalt och organisatoriskt perspektiv på innovationsspridning inom svensk dagligvaruhandel 1900-2000
Available from: 2011-12-09 Created: 2011-12-09 Last updated: 2012-08-07Bibliographically approved

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Sandgren, Fredrik
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Department of Economic History
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