Saturday, September 5, 2015

Invention of margarine

The impetus for the development of margarine came in the 19th century when people throughout Europe and the United States began moving from the farm to city, abandoning the tradition of making butter.

The first margarine was made in Paris in 1869 by chemist, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès. It was a challenge from French government: facing an increasing shortage of butter, officials used the 1866 Paris World Exhibition as a pretext for inviting scientists to develop an inexpensive nutritive cooking fat.
Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès
In response, Mège-Mouriès developed a new food that he called ‘margarine’ for the margaric acid it contained. Mège-Mouriès used oil obtained by pressing beef fat, oleo oil, salt, milk and annatto for coloring. These ingredients were partially emulsified, then chilled rapidly with ice water to separate the solidified fatty granules from excess water of the milk.

The word ‘margarine’ was first used by Mège’s teacher, Michael Eugene Chevreul, around 1813. Mège-Mouriès filed patents on margarine in both France and England.

Margarine was cheap, as the French government had hoped, but the early variants were not flavorful. Although it has been claimed that this was done to enhance the nutrition of the working classes, another motive was to provide a cheaper and more versatile source of food for the French army, which was then preparing for a conflict with the emergent state of Prussia for domination of continental Europe.

Production started at Poissy in about 1872-73. In 1889 Otto Monsted established England’s first margarine plant in an old hat factory in Godley, Manchester. Demand was so great that he had to erect a new factory in Southall near London.

While Napoleon appealed for the development of margarine and rewarded the inventor, the use of margarine in the United States was discouraged and even penalized, almost as soon as it was introduced in the early 1870s. American dairymen protested and in an effort to prevent immediate ruin to the butter market, Congress put a tax on margarine in 1886.
Invention of margarine 

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