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Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2056-6522
  • E-ISSN: 2056-6530



This article examines how the increasing use of transparent packaging, specifically cellophane, and a new self-service merchandising system altered consumers’ sensory experiences in food purchasing. It focuses on the American food industry roughly from the 1920s to the 1950s, a time when self-service became the dominant way of selling perishable items in the country. Clear packages provided consumers with a new way of understanding product quality. At supermarkets, where meat was already cut and bread packaged, and where consumers rarely had a chance to actually taste, smell or touch foods, they needed to rely mostly on visual information in selecting products. Businesses’ effort to capture consumer desire facilitated the creation of a new kind of visual regime, which rested on commercial intent, gendered narratives and technological manipulation, in the rise of consumer capitalism from the early twentieth century. By emphasizing the significance of colour in food consumption, retailers created food products and store interiors intended to stimulate female consumers’ chromatic sensation and their appetite for food purchasing.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): cellophane; colour; retailing; senses; transparency; vision
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