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What’s for Dinner! – Smash
Image by brizzle born and bred
Smash is a brand of instant mashed potato in the United Kingdom. The preparation of Smash is extremely simple – the granules are placed in a bowl and boiling water is added and stirred producing a mashed potato substitute.
Launched in the UK by Cadbury (then best known as a manufacturer of confectionery) in the 1960s, Smash was reasonably successful. However, it was not until 1974 that Smash became popular in the convenience food market after Cadbury launched an advertising campaign by agency Boase Massimi Pollitt featuring the now famous Smash Martians, who would watch humans preparing mashed potato the traditional way on television instead of using potato granules.
The catchphrase ‘For Mash Get Smash’ is still a memorable advertising image within the UK.
The 1970s adverts were voted TV ad of the century by Campaign Magazine, and 2nd best television advert of all time in a 2000 poll conducted by The Sunday Times and Channel 4.
The space theme was appropriate: not only did Cadbury’s launch Smash onto an unsuspecting public in 1969, but that year also saw the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, as well as Concorde’s first flight. Yet, Smash was not an innovation; the dried potato market was established five years earlier. Cadbury’s rivals Mars had got in there first with their Yeoman and Dine brands, and later with Wondermash flakes.
Within two years, Smash had gained a 55% share of this market, and had established itself as one of the key brands in the rapidly growing Cadbury Schweppes portfolio. By 1977, the firm was producing not only chocolate (Bournville, Flake, Fry’s Turkish Delight), but biscuits, cakes, Ty-phoo tea, Hartley’s jams, Chivers’ jellies, Kenco coffee, Dubonnet, soft drinks such as Cresta, Pepsi-Cola, 7-up and Kia-Ora, and even disinfectants like Jeyes Fluid, Sanilav and Bloo.
Buoyed by the 1970s Martian TV ads, Smash remained a top seller, despite instant mash being to many people a poor substitute for the real thing. It was fairly bland and insipid, lacked the texture of real potato, and adding too much liquid made it into a sloppy, watery mush. However, you could disguise it to some degree by adding a little cream, or some chopped chives.
The only real threat to Smash’s profitability was something entirely out of Cadbury’s control. A drought in 1975 led to a poor potato harvest, around 40% below expectations. Prices rocketed, and many customers would have sought out and discovered the exotic alternatives of rice and pasta. The humble spud was beginning to lose its stranglehold over the UK’s staple diet.
By the mid-1980s, Smash had gradually drifted out of fashion, a victim of TV cookery shows and the celebrity chef culture. It joined a long list of convenience foods at the back of the larder. In 1986, a management buyout created the company Premier Brands, which took over the ailing Ty-phoo, Chivers, Hartley’s and Smash. As Premier Foods, it is today the UK’s largest food producer, having acquired other nostalgia brands such as Bird’s, Fray Bentos, Hovis, Bisto and Mr Kipling. Smash can live out its declining years in the company of old friends.
The brand has since been sold by Cadbury and is now owned by Premier Foods who launched a ‘healthier recipe’ version in 2006.
Smash continues to be popular in the UK, selling 140 million servings a year.
The texture of Smash is not identical to that of real mashed potato, being somewhat smoother.
The Martian adverts used in the 70s were voted no.1 in the ‘ITV Top 50 adverts ever’ In recent years, flavoured varieties of Smash have also been made available, including Cheddar & Onion and Buttery.
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Wild Strawberry Cocktails
Image by Olive Oil Lady
Recipe blogged at: www.gavethat.com/2013/06/wild-strawberry-cocktails.html