Spry Vegetable Shortening

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Spry was a brand of vegetable shortening produced by Lever Brothers starting in 1936. It was a competitor for Procter & Gamble's Crisco, and through aggressive marketing through its mascot Aunt Jenny had reached 75 percent of Crisco's market share. The marketing efforts were phased out in the 1950s, but Aunt Jenny and her quotes like With Spry, we can afford to have cake oftener! have been reprinted.[1] Though the product is discontinued in most countries, there are anecdotal reports of its being used through the 1970s. It appears as an ingredient in "Hungarian Nut Cake" in the August 1975 booklet "Favorite Recipes of the Aetna Girls" [Toledo, Ohio office].[2]

During its heyday in the 1950s, a large blinking sign advertising Spry on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River was a memorable part of the Manhattan evening skyline, mentioned several times [3] in The New Yorker magazine and appearing at least once on its cover.[4]

Spry Vegetable Shortening is still widely available in Cyprus, where it is manufactured by Ambrosia Oils (1976) Ltd for Unilever Foods (UK) Ltd.

The related product, Spry Cooking Oil, was marketed in the UK throughout the 1970s[failed verification] with the slogan "Spry Crisp and Dry".[5]


  1. ^ James Lileks The Gallery of Regrettable Food (2001, ISBN 0-609-60782-0)
  2. ^ "Favorite Recipes of the Aetna Girls, August 1975" [Issued by the Toledo, Ohio office, Bayer & Associates.]
  3. ^ "Toward Evening" by John Updike, New Yorker magazine, Feb. 11, 1956[1]; "The Rivermen" by Joseph Mitchell, April 4, 1959; "Spry for Frying" by Lore Segal, April 18, 2011[2],
  4. ^ June 28, 1958
  5. ^ "UK television adverts 1955–1990" at headington.org.uk