1960s parents had lived through World War II, rationing and austerity. They didn’t like waste, they didn’t like things to be disposable rather than reusable, and they knew the difference between “empty calories” and “growth foods” – as shown in the heavy, stodgy meals they served and ate.
Convenience foods started to arrive in the 1960s and, as housewives got busier they started to become more attractive. But the rationing mentality still held. The food might be convenient, but if it doesn’t help you grow, if it doesn’t leave you feeling full, then it’s a waste of money.
The advertising agencies pushing convenience foods like packet soups, Vesta curries and frozen burgers decided to stress in their advertising just how nourishing the food was. How full of goodness. How filling or warming or cooling or good for you. No food advert for anything we would now think of as fatty or junk food was complete without at least one keyword making sure that the housewife felt less guilty for just adding hot water.