The Edible Man: Dave Nichol, President’s Choice & the Making of Popular Taste

The Edible Man

Anne Kingston

Subtitled “Dave Nichol, President’s Choice and the Making of Popular Taste,” The Edible Man is the story of how the former Loblaws executive spurred a private-label revolution in the food industry — and how mass-market tastes are created and manipulated.

“I was fascinated by how a seemingly unprepossessing guy became a taste arbiter,” says Anne Kingston, winner of this year’s National Business Book Award, about the subject of The Edible Man. “But as I delved into Dave Nichol, I found the last thing he is is unprepossessing.”

Kingston’s The Edible Man skillfully weaves an intriguing personal profile into a wider socio-cultural history.

As she worked on The Edible Man, Kingston discovered that Nichol — the executive who transformed the once-stodgy Loblaws grocery chain into an aggressive food retailer — considers himself to be “on a higher taste plane.”

“The mass market found him to be its champion and put its trust in him — even though his interests were commercial and personal,” she adds.

About the author:
A University of Toronto graduate in comparative literature, Kingston worked as a copy editor at Harlequin and in corporate communications on Bay Street before becoming senior editor of Your Money. Previously, she was also a columnist and senior writer at the Financial Times of Canada, where she reported on socio-economic and marketing issues. Since 1992, Kingston has been a contributing editor at Report on Business magazine. The Edible Man is her first book.

“Somebody told me writing a book is like writing 12 magazine articles, but it’s much more difficult than that,” the first-time author says. “A book is so wide-ranging in themes — in fact, The Edible Man is a series of investigations, with Dave Nichol as the thread.”

1995 Winner