Send to

Choose Destination
Br Med Bull. 2000;56(1):1-17.

Food processing: a century of change.

Author information

Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health (NICHE), University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK.


In 1900, the population was beset with poverty, and infectious and deficiency diseases were common. The first half of the century was blighted by world wars, economic depression and post-war austerity. Nevertheless, a combination of enlightened social policy and the application of medical, nutritional and food science, resulted in substantial improvements in health, such that, by 1950, many hitherto common infectious diseases were under control, and the diet was generally nutritionally adequate. The second half of the century saw increasing economic prosperity, and unprecedented social and scientific advances. The impact on food processing was manifold: nascent technologies such as freezing and chilling were increasingly exploited, and the consumer became the major focus of a food industry that became more sophisticated, embracing automation, computerisation and new developments in, for example, drying, heat processing, controlled and modified atmosphere packaging, ingredients and quality assurance. By 1999, this had led to an industry which provided foods that were not only safe, nutritious and palatable, but which were also increasingly convenient and healthy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center