100% Consumer

How the diet industry looks at you.

We may define ourselves by our profession: teacher, banker, physician, filmmaker, chef, nutritionist, psychologist, mother, or father. We may define ourselves by the things we love to do: cyclist, yogi, dancer, friend, pet enthusiast, or singer. But regardless of how we see ourselves, industry has a singular definition of what you are…a consumer.

Shayne Leslie Figueroa is a food studies doctoral student at New York University. In a recent interview (read full interview here), she spoke with us about the rise of consumerism in the 1950s. During this era, people became defined by what they bought, wore, and ate as opposed to who they were. People learned through the media what was in vogue and strived to adhere to these societal standards by buying the “right” things and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” This new mindset impacted how people looked at food. What you ate reflected your role in society. Advertisements emphasized the importance of owning the newest products to impress friends, neighbors, and husbands. Rather than cooking real homemade meals from fresh ingredients, processed foods became prized as a symbol of success.

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