Here's health

Taikoo Sugar advertisement in local newspaper Sing Pao Daily in 1959.
Taikoo Sugar advertisement in local newspaper Sing Pao in 1959.
Rebuilt after almost total destruction during World War II, Taikoo Sugar was back in production in 1950.Rebuilt after almost total destruction during World War II, Taikoo Sugar was back in production in 1950.

"Taikoo Golden Syrup: for energy and health!" proclaims this 1950s advertisement, which appeared in Hong Kong's Sing Pao. "Natural sugarcane taste, sweet and tasty. Spread on bread or biscuits, it's economical and delicious. Refined and produced by the Taikoo Sugar Refining Company". As a marketing strategy, it's from another world: one where Hong Kong mothers stayed home in the kitchen; thriftiness and domestic economy were watchwords, and where refined sugar could be promoted as a health food! How different from today, when childhood obesity has become an issue for developed economies. In the 1950s, however, the memory of World War II was still a recent and raw one for Hong Kong parents – many of whom had suffered from malnutrition during the long, starvation years of the Japanese occupation. In this context, chubby-cheeked, well-fed children were indeed a sign of good health – and symbolic of Hong Kong casting off its austere past and looking ahead to better times. Taikoo Sugar, one of Hong Kong's most recognised brands, returned to production in 1950, after Swire had completely rebuilt its refinery, severely damaged in wartime bombing. The reopening of the factory, a major employer, was a potent symbol of Hong Kong's recovery and the resurgence of its industrial activities, as the city transformed itself from a trading entrepôt into a manufacturing powerhouse.

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