War Food Administration - Fact Sheet on Onions, May 1944

War Food Administration - Fact Sheet on Onions, May 1944


Office of Distribution
 Washington 25, D.C.

May 1944


Objective: To increase Nation-wide consumer demand in late May and early June in anticipation of heavy production of early dry onions.

The Problem: The problem is to encourage increased consumption so as to avoid waste of this food in the period of heavy production—late May and early June. Early onions cannot be stored for long periods and are not suitable for dehydration, thereby Government requirements from the early crops are very small. It is imperative that they be used as quickly as possible. Current crop reports and volume of shipments indicate and increasing supply of new crop onions. During the last half of May and early part of June, the supple will be abundant in all areas of the United States. The official Crop Report for May 1 indicated that the early spring crop in Texas would total 2,683,000 sacks of 100-pounds each compared with 1,708,000 sacks last year and a 10-year average (1933-42) of 1,720,000. Other onion-producing areas, including California, Georgia, and Louisiana, anticipate increased crop yields. The early spring crop is marketed from the middle of April to the first of June. The late spring crop is marketed during June.

The How: To urge through all informational channels during late May and early June the increased use of onions in home cooking, in institutions, hotels, restaurants, and industrial feeding. In food sales promotion and in consumer food services, attention should be focused on the seasonal abundance of onions and an appeal made to consumers to buy more onions and to eat more onions.

Background: The Texas onion acreage this year was increased to 70,600 acres from 28.000 last year. The 10-year average was 46,560 acres. The late spring crop which begins to move to market in June is indicated as 1,167,000 100-pound sacks compared with 889,000 sacks last year and the 10-year average of 1,013,000 sacks. Although the acreage for the late spring crop was not increased above that of last year the indicated yield of 60 sacks per acre is considerably above that of last year and of the 10-year average. The total available supplies from both crops, therefore, are estimated at 3,850,000 100-pound sacks which is an increase of nearly 50 percent over the supply last year and about 40 percent above the 10-year average. Shipments of onions to May 6, 1944 totaled 4,497 cars, compared with 4,035 last year to the same date. Heavy rained during the week ended May 6, delayed harvesting and reduced shipments somewhat, but during the following week, shipments proceeded at an increased rate and daily shipments are running much above those of the preceding week or of corresponding weeks in recent years.


State Archives of Florida: Series S419, Box 20, Folder 6


This memorandum was distributed by the War Food Administration, a wartime agency of the United States government tasked with conserving the nation's food supply during the war emergency. Its purpose was to increase consumer demand for onions nationwide at the precise moment these crops were coming into the market so they could be consumed without waste. Such precise item-by-item food marketing was a common practice for the War Food Administration during World War II. The memorandum discusses strategies for encouraging more people to use more onions in their meal planning, and it includes several recipes using onions, including smothered steak with onions, scalloped liver and potatoes, stuffed onions, French fried onions, scalloped onions and peanuts, and cabbage and onion salad.