The transition from counter service, where goods were individually weighed and wrapped, to self-service, prompted a revolution in packaging design. By the end of rationing in 1954, most foods required some kind of packaging.
Many factors had to be taken into account for the design of packaging for this new style of shopping. The package had to protect its contents and withstand handling by customers. It had to be clearly labelled and identifiable from any angle. It also had to be easy to stack and to look attractive both on its own and in displays.
Leonard Beaumont was appointed Sainsbury's design consultant in 1950 and created simple, consistent designs which reflected the company's reputation for quality and cleanliness. He used only one typeface (Albertus), stylised graphics and muted colours to create a clean fresh image which echoed the design of the self-service shops.
Eggs had traditionally been sold loose. When they came off ration in 1953 a new 4-egg pack was introduced. However this was not stackable or robust enough so was replaced three years later with a sturdier design.
In 1950, cardboard was cheap but only two types of plastic film were available. The introduction of polythene a few years later proved very useful for packaging frozen foods as it remain flexible at very low temperatures. Cellulose film was relatively expensive, so designs were economical in its use. Boxes featured a cellulose window on one side and a half-tone image of the product on the other.
Package sizes also began to change to suit self-service methods. A 1957 'JS Journal' article states: 'The 2lb jar of jam has practically vanished - to be replaced at the other end of the scale by the ½ lb size.'
Find out more about the self-service product range.