Archive for the ‘Canned vegetables’ Category

Bean And Gone

In Beans, Bernard Roundhill, Canned vegetables, Peas, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on March 15, 2014 at 10.46

Wattie's Garden Peas 1950s  pre Feb 1952 edit further smaller

An early-mid-1950s label design, image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.


Today’s post is a short and sweet one, focusing on labels, that I know of,  for Wattie’s peas and beans that have been produced over the years (excluding boxes or packets  for frozen and dried products).

Canned peas were one of the all-time most popular and enduring products along with peach halves, tomato sauce, Bartlett pears in syrup, creamed sweet corn, and baked beans or spaghetti (I imagine that their ranking would be quite low today given the quality of quick frozen product). One of the earliest Wattie’s products launched in 1937, canned peas have been relentlessly advertised through the decades. Although, seemingly Wattie’s felt no need to advertise at all until after the second world war was over when their contracts for ration supply had really wound down, and they were planning on keeping the ball in the air as far as profit margins – meaning a slew of new products urgently needed to be marketed.

garden peas on shelves 1959

This can label was in use between at least 1956-1959, as evidenced by slides I previously wrote about here. This design was also made into a miniature and given away as a promotional lighter, now rare and highly collectible. I recreated the design from the images captured on film as they came off the conveyor belt.

The company had the foresight to launch “experimental” packs of asparagus and peas into the marketplace in 1936 as a test run, and it had been met with a very positive response from the consumer. This was great foresight, since through 1935-1937 fruit crops met with massive failure due to a combination of brown rot and hail – which effectively destroyed them.

At the point Wattie’s launched canned peas, it was a fledgling company, less than three years in and had a total range of seven products (peaches, pears, cherries, asparagus, tomato soup and a range of jams were the others), and also manufactured eleven different types of bulk fruit pulps – which were for the most part sold to other jam, jelly and conserve manufacturers.

gren peas l;ate 1940s

This design probably dates from the late 1940s. It really looks like classic Bernard Roundhill artwork.


Beans were added to the roster in 1938. By this decade it’s known that commercial artist Bernard Roundhill was already working on the Wattie’s account – and continued to do so right through to the 1970s that I know of – so it is quite likely he worked on most, if not all of these label designs.

However I am not aware of any labels that date before the late 1940s that have survived – although I’d love to see some, of course. Even when Wattie’s issued a range of reproduction labels on their cans for the fiftieth anniversary of the company, supposedly representing the 1930s – it looks like they actually dated from early 1952-early 1954 judging by examples I’ve seen from the range of that era. So it seems likely that even the company don’t have any archive record of their earliest labeling endeavors.

garden peas on shelves 1963

A version of the classic pressure-cooked peas can, which was on the market around 1964.


french sliced beans

A label that I would have guessed dates from the early to mid 1960s, judging by the range of the time – which mostly had a similar standard layout of a lemon background and a navy strip at the bottom. However the logo tells the story of a design that could go back to the 1950s.


garden peas 1 lb 14 oz

The classic pressure-cooked garden peas can that was in use from the mid 1950s – at least 1956 – until well into the 1970s. Judging by the logo this dates from the late 1950s to early 1960s. The change of label designs was fairly arbitrary and some didn’t get a revamp for as long as ten to fifteen years, with other designs for the same product in the market concurrently.


garden peas 11 oz

An eleven ounce version of the above label that I recreated. The logo tells the story of a design issued mid-1960s onwards, possibly as late as 1972. Both these and the pair of stringless sliced French beans labels at bottom were alleged to be part of a collection that was amassed by a marketing manager who worked at a company from the 1950s  through the 1970s, and retained samples of all the products he handled during that period. I’ve covered this story here, here herehere, here and here.


Wattie's Label green beans late 1940s-early 1950s     pre Feb 1952 edit more copy  smaller

This can label  was known to be on the shelves around 1954. By this time Wattie’s now had quite a large range of products. Up until the end of the war the range was quite compact. This image originally courtesy of Peter Michel.


green beans early 1960s-early 1970s 1 lb

A label for French beans was definitely on the supermarket shelves in 1963-1964 although the logo indicates it was likely in production later in the decade.


green beans early 1960s-early 1970s 11 oz

An eleven ounce version of the above label, again around 1963-1972. Both are recreations. There was also at least one completely different bean can design also on the market at the same time.


All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.


Wattie’s He Been Doing

In Canned Goods, Canned vegetables, Fruit Juice, Instant Drinks, Wattie's on October 2, 2011 at 10.46

I honestly can’t say what I have been doing for the last month besides not posting here, but I do know that I have a heck of a lot of filing to catch up on and work to achieve on the book I am currently doing.  I do have some interesting articles coming up on the Pam’s brand, the early New Zealand  advertising world, and part two of a story on the Buttermaid brand  which I have discovered has its foundations  way back to Victorian Times. In lieu of not having put anything up on the site for nearly four weeks, here is the recent recreation that I have done of an early Wattie’s label for a grapefruit juice can.

Again this is part of a collection that was amassed by a marketing manager who worked at a company from the 1950s  through to the 1970s and collected samples of all the products he handled during that period. I’ve covered this story here  and here  and here. That said I am not sure of the date of this item, but I am conjecting that it dates from the early 1960s. hopefully later in the week I will be back on track and posting at least four times a month even if it’s something small.

Saucing Material

In Canned Goods, Canned vegetables, Culinary Anthropology, Grocery Archaeology, Kiwi Classics, Supermarket Anthropology, Wattie's on June 26, 2011 at 10.46

Here’s some recreations I’ve been working my way through lately.
The two Wattie’s labels probably date from the early to mid 1960s and were part of the group that came from the ex marketing manager’s collection mentioned in a previous post.


James Wattie and Harold Carr formed J. Wattie Canneries Ltd in 1934 and in 1935 started supplying pulped fruit for jam, and quickly turned canning of fruit.


It wasn’t until 1936 they moved into vegetables so we can conject this Frimley label dates from the second half of that decade when they have clearly acquired the Frimley plant which must have been close by – it was also based in Hastings. I am going to place it between 1936-1939.

Frimley goes back to the early 1900s producing a generous variety of canned vegetables, jams, pie fruits, dessert fruits, Baked Beans, and tomato ketchup; through the 1910s – when they added jelly crystals and fruit squashes to their range as well. By the WWII years spaghetti and packet tomato sauce was included in the range. In 1913 Frimley was purchased S. Kirkpatrick & Co. (Kirkpatrick and “K” brands) which was in turn became part of Wattie’s.  The brand appears it had been killed off by the end of the war, probably a victim of rationing which led to focus on certain brands – some survived, some didn’t. Fat was trimmed as far as brands that were a supefluous representation of market share and nothing more.


Frimley canned veges and ketchup advert, Marlborough Express, Volume XLV, Issue 254, 31 October 1911, Page 3

As no more than a trademark belonging to another larger and far more popular self-named concern, it had no doubt ceased to have any value as a stand-alone name.

I grabbed this Frimley label off the official Wattie’s site as a teeny .jpeg and was able to bring it back to life, although it did take the best part of a day. I will definitely get to a proper post on the Wattie’s company history – as one of New Zealand’s most successful and iconic brands.