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.”