Vintage Offensive Fat-Shaming and Weight Loss ads for women from Ry-Krisp, 1930-1950

Krisp is a brand of rye crisp bread founded by Swedish immigrants Arvid and Erik Peterson, who brought a recipe for traditional Swedish “crisp bread” with them. The bread was often made from rye, did not require yeast, and was extremely durable. Scandinavians ate crisp bread or knackerbrod as a diet staple during the 19th century. They were traditionally produced only twice a year with a hole in the center to store them on a single rod easily.

Rye-Krisp started advertising its products in magazines marketed to women and young girls starting in the 1930s as a “reducing” (or “weight loss”) product. The brand originally appealed to Scandinavian immigrants who were comforted by eating rye crackers, but after being acquired by Purina in 1926, they changed their marketing strategy. Ry-Krisp usually used timeless and compelling marketing themes like, “your husband is going to leave you for a skinny girl” and “caddie girls are going to laugh at your fat ass if you don’t buy our product.”. They even ran ads like “Nobody loves a fat girl” in Seventeen magazine for years. Below are some examples of offensive ads by Ry-Krisp, fat-shaming vintage advertisements for Ry-Krisp crackers from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Ry-Krisp sponsored radio shows featuring New York hostess Elsa Maxwell and opera star Marion Talley in the 1940s. Cartoonists drew ry-Krisp ads from the 1940s from the New Yorker. The Ralston portion of Ralston Purina was spun off in 1994 into Ralcorp Holdings, which included RyKrisp. ConAgra Foods acquired Ralcorp in 2013. The ConAgra Foods subsidiary announced in January 2015 that RyKrisp would be discontinued due to declining demand. March 2015 marked the last batch of crackers made at the Minneapolis factory. RyKrisp Inc. bought the brand in April 2015 and planned to revitalize it once a new manufacturing partner was found. In October 2015, larger-scale commercialization was planned, followed by commercial production sometime later. Production has not yet begun. RyKrisp’s owners cited legal issues as the reason for their decision.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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