Wesson cooking oil

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Wesson Oil advertisement, 1918.

Wesson cooking oil is a brand of vegetable oil manufactured in Memphis, Tennessee and sold by ConAgra Foods. Historically, Wesson was cottonseed oil, but as of 2009 the products currently sold under the Wesson brand are oil mixtures that may include canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil or sunflower oil.

Wesson was originally a trademark of the Southern Oil Company, named after David Wesson (1861–1934), a food chemist at the firm who, in 1899 developed a novel process for deodorizing cottonseed oil, producing the first commercial all-vegetable shortenings from cottonseeds. This new product was marketed as Snowdrift. In the 1920s, the vegetable oil division was spun off as the Wesson Oil & Snowdrift Company. This firm merged with Hunt's Foods, Inc. to become Hunt-Wesson Foods, later merged with Norton Simon and later merged with Beatrice Foods. The brand was sold to ConAgra Foods along with many other former Beatrice brands in 1990.

The longtime spokeswoman for Wesson cooking oil was actress Florence Henderson, Although she sang the jingle, the word "Wessonality" was actually coined by a copywriter named Mark Itkowitz at BBDO New York in 1976. His initial concept was to use the Sam Cooke version of the song "Personality". It was Jim Jordan, who was BBDO's Creative Director who suggested using the version by Johnny Mercer as the basis for the campaign. Florence Henderson would appear in television commercials for Wesson from 1976 until 1996.

Lawsuit[edit]

In July 2011, two lawsuits were brought against ConAgra in relation to labelling of the Wesson product, alleging that the company "engaged in this misleading and deceptive campaign to charge a premium and take away market share from other similar products".[1][2]

Trivia[edit]

  • The Wesson logo was created by Saul Bass in 1964
  • The Savannah Georgia Factory was erected in 1911 and torn down in 2004

References[edit]

External links[edit]