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Supermarket USAFood and Power in the Cold War Farms Race$
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Shane Hamilton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300232691

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300232691.001.0001

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Machines for Selling

Machines for Selling

(p.6) 1 Machines for Selling
Supermarket USA

Shane Hamilton

Yale University Press

The first chapter maps out the power structures of midcentury American supermarketing, exposing the essential lie of the notion that supermarkets were mere products of “free enterprise.” The focus is on the world’s largest supermarket chain at the time, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P). After a brief summary of the rise of the supermarket business model—a model at first rejected by A&P’s executives but then fully embraced by the end of the 1930s—the chapter illustrates the ways in which consolidated food retailers relied upon government support of industrialized agriculture to transform the nation’s food economy by the late 1940s.

Keywords:   Industrial agriculture, Supply chains, Chain stores, Supermarkets, Monopsony, Antitrust, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P)

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