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Swift & Co introduced a product called Cottonsuet in 1893

January 1, 1893


Big Vegetable Oil
Seed Oils

The development of cottonseed oil from Southern cotton plantations helped fill the void. Americans still didn’t consider oil acceptable for cooking or baking, but that didn’t stop some companies from mixing the oil with beef fat to make a “compound lard.” Swift & Co., for instance, introduced a product called Cottonsuet in 1893. Unbeknownst to consumers, manufacturers had also been sneaking cottonseed oil into butter from the 1860s on as a way of reducing costs. Indeed, here was the enduring and compelling logic of vegetable oils: they were cheaper than animal fats. Starting in the early 1930s, when the mechanized process of hulling and pressing cottonseeds came to be widely used, this and then other oils pressed from seeds and beans were simply less expensive than raising and slaughtering animals.