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    Margarine: A Closer Look


    Works : 115
    Join date : 2012-08-18

    Margarine: A Closer Look

    Post by Revealer on August 21st 2012, 6:23 am

    Margarine has its origins in France. In 1866 the French Government launched a competition that called for research into the development of a reasonably priced nutritive fat to be used as an alternative to butter.

    In 1869, a French chemist named Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés discovered the recipe for margarine using a mixture of beef tallow and skim milk. He won the competition prize and was granted a patent for his invention in France and England.

    In 1871, Mr. Mège-Mouriés sold his knowledge to the Dutch firm Jurgens, a company which eventually became the giant food corporation known as Unilever. Unilever was created in 1930 by the merger of British soapmaker Lever Brothers and Dutch producer Margarine Uni. The merger was logical for both companies, as palm oil was a major raw material for both products and could be imported more efficiently in larger quantities.

    The first margarine factory was built in Germany in 1872 and the first US factory was built between 1874 – 1876.

    At first, the margarine was made from beef tallow and milk. But the price of tallow created a need for a cheaper fat source.

    In the 1890s, the meat packing monopoly controlled the price of lard and tallow needed to make candles and soap. Candle maker William Proctor and his brother-in-law, soap-maker James Gamble, combined their companies and took steps to gain control of the cottonseed oil business from farm to factory, with the aim of forcing tallow, (and the meat packers) out of the candle and soap business.

    By 1905, the two men owned several cottonseed mills in Mississippi. In 1909, P&G acquired the patent for the science of hydrogenation from Joseph Crossfield and Sons, a British company. By forcing the addition of hydrogen atoms to the fatty acid chain, this revolutionary industrial process transformed liquid cottonseed oil into a solid that resembled lard. This hydrogenation process was incorporated into the making of oil based spreads.

    Eventually, soybean oil became the main ingredient. By the mid 1930s, margarine was made with hydrogenated soybean oil, along with some added vitamin A and D. Consumption increased during the Depression years, and further increased significantly during World War II as butter was reserved for the soldiers fighting in Europe.


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