How Bovril Became Popular In Britain

I feel no shame in confessing that I have had my fair share of canned foods. After spending a tiring day at a job that sucks, canned food can be your best friend. It’s the hero that your mouth has been urging for. So when did canned foods become a thing?

The story of Bovril began a century and a half ago, when the processed beef-based food giant revolutionized the way consumers thought about and consumed the best thing in the world, food.


Almost 130 years ago, a Scotsman spotted a brilliant business opportunity when he was tasked with supplying preserved beef from the ranches of North America for Napoleon III’s army, following their defeat due to starvation during the 1870-71 Siege of Paris.

The brilliant man named John Lawson Johnston was the creator of Bovril and canned food as we see today. Johnston saw the potential for a beef extract with added protein. He produced an extract made by heating carcasses of cattle and reducing the liquids that came off into a residue which was mixed with powdered dried meat. Yummy right?


This substance, which Johnston believed was truly nutritious, solved all the problems linked with transporting meat across thousands of miles of ocean water. Not only that but it suited the lazy person in all of us, too tired to cook.

Add this with how insanely it was marketed as some miracle food which was able to cure one of the diseases that did not even exist, promising things such as health, energy, stamina, and stoicism.


And by making such claims as it helps to build healthy bodies. Bovril is what explorers drink to keep their spirits up when times are tough, it is no wonder it did so well. But as people became wiser, realizing how false these ads were, combined with revelation of horse-meat scandal and how they treated workers and animals at the massive, Chicago meat processing plants did manage to knock wind out of the sales.


But in all fairness, considering the massive health risks that canned goods carry such as preservatives and Bisphenol, the plastic contaminant that can cause cancer and the can itself which has aluminum that can cause Alzheimer’s, the question arises should I really use canned foods?

One should consider the risk at all costs. For me, personally? Yes! But if I feel tired, which is always, I think I should probably consider learning to cook for the sake of my health.

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