Baked beans Catelli sign showing a can.

The ready-to-eat industry

Beyond cultural influences, the industrialization that began in the mid-19th century had a profound impact on eating habits with the introduction of foods that were ready to eat as part of a modern new menu: breakfast bars, canned soups, soft drinks and dry pasta.

For the very first time, food was transformed, serially manufactured and mechanically packaged into bags and boxes so that the products could be more easily transported and marketed in grocery stores, eventually leading to the development of supermarkets and self-service foods. Chiefly manufactured in England and the United States, the industrially produced products were especially tailored to meet the needs of city dwellers who wanted to spend less time preparing food.

Towards the late 19th century, Montréal played a leading role in Canada’s food sector. A port and railway city in the heart of North America’s economic network, Montréal was home to the first industrial bakeries, which manufactured bread, pastry and biscuits.

Enamelled sheet cooking tools. Metal dishware
La Familiale grocery store and Viau cookies. Viau
Paper Steinberg grocery bag. Steinberg
Photography of an ice cream street vendor in Montreal. Ice cream
Nouvelle cuisinière canadienne cookbook. Nouvelle cuisinière canadienne
Boiled dinner recipe in Nouvelle cuisinière canadienne cookbook. Boiled dinner
Excerpt from a manuscript on the arrival of macaronis to the Séminaire de Québec. Macaroni
Baked beans Catelli sign showing a can. Catelli