Food Posters as Propaganda

Potatoes - Feed Without Fattening and Give You Energy (Art.IWM PST 3366) whole: the image is placed centrally with a Ministry of Food logo set above. Text, in black, is positioned below the image
against a plain white background.
image: a young boy playing cricket with his parents in a leafy park. In the background left a mother pushes a pram.
text: POTATOES feed without fattening and give you ENERGY Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

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The artist for this poster is unknown. However, Haycock Press was the printer and Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, as well as, the Ministry of Food were publishers and sponsors of the piece. It is important to note the Ministry of Food’s motive when creating this was part of a bigger picture in terms of propaganda. This poster is part of a larger series(see below this paragraph) that  pays homage to the “home front war front” campaign. The idea of the campaign was to have adults, but more specifically children to grow crops their own crops as a means to help England ration out food due to the economic and agricultural effects caused by WWII. As an attempt to get the people of England to grow their own crops and follow recipes for rationing, that the ministry itself created, the ministry fabricated propaganda based food postersthat were targeted at children and adult British citizens specifically.

These posters can be considered propaganda because they lead the people to believe in the lies within them. For example, the poster of the boy playing cricket with his family has the text  “POTATOES feed without energy and give you ENERGY”, while it may be true that potatoes provide a source of energy—as carbohydrates typically do—they do not do so without fattening. In fact carbs are a very fattening entity when it comes to nutrition. Similarly, another poster—the carrot poster above—was created with the intent to get people to grow and eat more carrots. The poster, as per The Guardian, is “actually pure propaganda”, because it states that carrots help with seeing in the dark. The statement that claims carrots assist in seeing during dark conditions is false. The notion that carrots had this effect on the eyes was attractive to the people of England is caused by the idea/rumor that carrots gave pilots in in the army great night vision. It is possible that it was also an attractive idea due to blackouts. Blackouts caused the entire population to purposely turn out their lights after dark so that enemy bombers and pilots could not attack due to lack of ambient light glaring off of architectural structures.

The efforts of the Ministry of Food during the WWII era, in regards to creating propaganda filled food posters,  seem to have been effective. It is said that a combination of 350,000 adults and children aided in bringing about a record setting harvest crop for the year of 1942. In addition, Woolten pie—a pie made from a recipe created by the Ministry of Food—was a heavily carrot based food that was popular among the citizens of England. Wooten pie was affiliated with the pseudo name steak and kidney pie, but had no steak or kidney. This is yet another way in which food based propaganda posters created by the Ministry of Food were successful/effective at the time.



1 Comment

  1. Some interesting questioning of the poster slogan validity? Do you think this would have made them ineffective? What about the pathos of the posters? How do you think people would have emotionally responded to the messaging?

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