Food Inventions During The World War

Posted on September 30, 2021Comments Off on Food Inventions During The World War

During the wartime periods, military scientists needed to develop compact yet nutritional ways to feed the troops. As “necessity is the mother of invention”, the need gave rise to the invention of new food processing techniques and putting in place a food science research system that exists to this day. Find out how canned food, energy bars and instant coffee were invented and popularised during the world wars.

Canned food

From smoking and drying to fermenting, humans have invented various methods to preserve food since prehistoric times. During the 18th century, a young chef named Nicolas Appert from France came up with an innovative food preservation idea — packing food in champagne bottles and sealed airtight with a mixture of cheese and lime, which was oddly compelling. Later on, his factory began experimenting with meat packed in tin cans soldered for long-term storage. By 1841, variants of his process were used to preserve food, from oysters to sardines and fruits. 

The availability of canned food played a crucial part during the wars that happened later on. Canned food is a cheap source of sustenance and can be easily mass-produced and delivered; therefore, US corporations like Heinz and Campbell made technological improvements and increased exports. After the war, canned food became more widespread as industry development made them cheaper, and people became accustomed to eating packaged food.

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Energy and granola bars

A quick and filling meal alternative for our grab-and-go lifestyle, energy and granola bars are also a product of the war. Military scientists discovered that pet food companies used freeze-dehydration methods to reduce water levels in food to prevent bacteria and fungi from being produced.

With this method, they found out that they could keep foods moist and chewy at room temperature and with regular packaging. The army developed a fortified fruit bar that was sweet and of “intermediate moisture, which evolved into the granola bars and energy bars that we consume today — even those moist and chewy cookies at the bakery aisle are also produced with this method! 

Instant coffee

Invented before the war and launched in 1938, instant coffee gained massive popularity and became a common household item. Instant coffee, cookie mix and the fruit bits in packaged cereal have one thing in common — the freeze-drying process creates them. Surprisingly, the process of freeze-drying foods was initially designed to transport blood and vaccines in the military instead of food production. 

Later on, scientists then realized this process could be utilized to preserve perishable foods and make them lightweight for army troops to consume anytime on the go. Other advantages of instant coffee include quicker preparation by dissolving it in hot water, requiring a lower volume than coffee beans to prepare the same amount of beverage, and no clean up needed!


Food inventions have progressed a long way since the era of the world wars. Still, one thing remains the same — the continuous effort of inventing lightly packaged, easy-to-consume food to preserve freshness and provide convenience and looking for a healthy beverage to power you throughout the day? Enjoy freshly brewed coffee any time with the Nescafe 3 in 1 — created under the proprietary ‘One Step Technology’ by reversing traditional methods and blending all ingredients before brewing. This unique process preserves more of the coffee bean’s flavour & aroma even in its plastic sachets; try the difference for yourself! 

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