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Enterp Soc. 2010;11(4):695-708.

Alchemy in eden: entrepreneurialism, branding, and food marketing in the United States, 1880–1920.

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Columbia College, Chicago.


Through an investigation into the origins of American food marketing, this dissertation reveals how branding—specifically, the centennial brands Quaker Oats, Coca-Cola, and Crisco—came to underpin much of today's market-driven economy. In a manner akin to alchemy, the entrepreneurs behind these three firms recognized the inherent value of an agricultural Eden, then found ways to convert common, low-cost agricultural goods—oats, sugar, and cottonseed oil—into appealing, high-revenue branded food products. In the process, these ventures devised new demand-driven business models that exploited technology and communications advances, enabling them to tap a nascent consumer culture. Their pioneering efforts generated unprecedented profits, laid the foundation for iconic billion-dollar brands, and fundamentally changed how Americans make daily food choices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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