From little shops to massive mega-stores The 1970s Supermarket looks at the 'retail revolution'

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Wednesday: The 1970s Supermarket (Channel 5, 9pm)

Gone are the days when people pass down secret home-cooked family recipes from generation to generation.

Instead, people are sharing memories of their favourite childhood supermarket foods with their kids, and getting them to try them for themselves.

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The 1970s was a decade of change, with the way we shopped, cooked and what we ate triggering a culinary and retail revolution.

Food scientist Dr Chris ClarkeFood scientist Dr Chris Clarke
Food scientist Dr Chris Clarke

It was a golden era of cool cereals, slimming snacks and show-off dinner parties, when convenience was king and big flavours took over from our bland, grey diet of meat and two veg.

The sausage and egg McMuffin came out, while cheese fondue and Black Forest gâteau were fashionable, and Blue Nun, which counted David Bowie and Rod Stewart among its fans, was the drink of choice.

This three-part series tells the story of the grocery transformation, as Brits swapped small, behind-the-counter shops for massive mega-stores with trolleys, booze sections and bar codes.

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It’s a celebration of the new products that took the nation by storm, from Chicken Kievs to Vesta Beef Curry, with experts and industry insiders revealing how our supermarkets grew and transformed.

Meanwhile, TV chef Rustie Lee and food scientist Dr Chris Clarke uncover the secrets behind the nation’s favourite dishes and explain how they got their bizarre looks, exquisite tastes and their incredible ability to last forever in the cupboard.

In the opening edition, we discover how the nation went crazy for convenience food and how the supermarket revolution began.

At the start of the 1970s, a lot of food came in cans and many of us tucked in to wartime favourite Spam.

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Chris discovers why it lasts for a long time in the tin and reveals the secret behind its pink colour, while Rustie rustles up Spam fritters in the kitchen.

During the decade, supermarkets and food manufacturers responded to our desire for dinner in an instant.

Boil-in-the-bag gave us a meal in minutes, while the Pot Noodle delivered a snack where you didn’t even need a saucepan.

We find out how Cup Noodles were originally invented by Japanese inventor and businessman Momofuku Ando, before two Welsh lads brought the idea over here and Golden Wonder launched the Pot Noodle brand in the UK.

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Nowadays the brand sells more that £100million worth of the snacks each year.

But it wasn’t just savoury dishes that became convenient during the 1970s.

Remember Angel Delight – the powder designed to be whisked with milk to create a sweet dessert?

Dr Chris discovers what makes Angel Delight whisk up into a fluffy mousse, and we get chance to relive the catchy advert that had us all humming along.

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Finally, there’s a look at how the rise of the home freezer heralded the birth of chains Iceland and Bejam.

To celebrate, Rustie attempts to recreate the classic Findus Crispy Pancake –which proves to be more difficult than it looks.

And we’ll get an answer to that age-old question – just how scientifically crispy is a crispy pancake?

While we might like to think we are a nation of sophisticated chefs, this programme proves that we haven’t lost our fondness for the kitsch brands we enjoyed when we were younger.

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And while some manufacturers are hoping to cash in on older consumers’ memories, others are targeting a new generation of shoppers who weren’t even born when the brands were popular the first time around.

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