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The 1970s Supermarket | Preview (Channel 5)

The 1970s was the decade when everything changed - from music, to fashion to holidays. But nothing changed more than the way we shopped, how we cooked and what we ate.

It was the golden era when convenience was king and BIG flavours took over from our bland, grey diet of meat and two veg. The 1970s Supermarket is an immersive story of transformation, as Britain went from small, behind-the-counter shops to massive mega-stores with trolleys, booze sections and bar codes.

We celebrate the new products that took the nation by storm, from Angel Delight to Findus Crispy Pancakes, Chicken Kievs and Vesta Beef Curry. Experts and industry insiders reveal how our supermarkets grew and transformed, while TV Chef Rustie Lee and food scientist Dr Chris Clarke uncover the secrets behind the nation’s favourite dishes – how they got their bizarre looks, exquisite tastes and their incredible ability to last forever in the cupboard!

In the first episode, we discover how the nation went crazy for convenience food and how the supermarket revolution began. At the start of the 1970s, convenience food came in cans and many of us tucked in to war-time favourite Spam. Dr Chris Clarke discovers why it lasts for a long time in the tin and reveals the secret behind its pink colour, while Rustie Lee rustles up Spam fritters in the kitchen.

We discover how convenience food developed over the decade, and how supermarkets and food manufacturers responded to our desire for dinner in an instant. We recall how boil-in-the-bag gave us a meal in minutes and how the Pot Noodle delivered a snack where you didn’t even need to use a saucepan!

And it wasn’t just savoury dishes that became convenient. Dr Chris discovers what makes Angel Delight whisk up into a fluffy mousse in minutes, and we remember the catchy advert that had us all humming along.

Plus, we explore how the rise of the home freezer heralded the birth of frozen food chains Iceland and Bejam, and Rustie recreates the classic Findus Crispy Pancake. Plus, in the lab we answer the ultimate question – how crispy is a crispy pancake?

The 1970s Supermarket begins Wednesday 16th August at 9pm on Channel 5.


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