Around the Net

C. Joseph Genster, Who Made Metrecal A Diet Fad, Dies at 92

C. Joseph Genster, a Harvard MBA who by others' accounts was responsible for making Johnson, Mead & Co.'s Metrecal one of the most successful dieting fads of the last century, died Aug. 17 at 92, Douglas Martin reports. Genster, however, was humble about his achievements, telling one author, "It would be a damned lie to say we knew what we had."

The original 1959 product was a vanilla-flavored powder that was mixed with water. An IBM syllable-scrambling machine came up with the name. Eventually the line was expanded. Cans in flavors such as chocolate and butterscotch contained about 225 calories and, with minerals and vitamins added, were marketed as nutritional. But many consumers thought the product was just a tad tastier than chalk.

Other extensions included Metrecal cookies, Metrecal clam chowder and Metrecal tuna and noodles. Sales started to slide in the mid-60s as competition intensified. "Even reasonably steadfast diners simply grew tired" of Metrecal, wrote Peter Wyden in The Overweight Society (1965). "The monotony was deadening."



Read the whole story at New York Times »

Next story loading loading..