back to top

33 Mildly Interesting Facts About British Snacks

It's someone's job to taste-test Walkers crisps six times a day.

Posted on

1. The Cadbury Flake was invented in 1920. A wise factory employee noticed that when the excess from chocolate moulds was drained off, it fell in a stream and created flaky, folded chocolate.

2. Flake 99 ice creams aren't named after their price, and have been called that since at least 1930. Nobody is really sure quite where the name came from.

3. The ice cream in a Twister is actually pineapple-flavoured.

4. All Smarties are the same flavour, apart from the orange ones, which are flavoured with orange oil.

5. Smarties were launched by Rowntree's as "Chocolate Beans" in 1882.

6. Nestlé claims that a Walnut Whip is consumed every two seconds in the UK.

7. 15 million tins of Quality Street were sold in 2010. Six thousand Quality Street sweets are produced per minute.


8. Bacon Frazzles are surprisingly suitable for vegetarians.

9. To stop the potatoes used in Walkers crisps from bruising, they are floated in water from the lorry to the factory.

10. It is someone's job to taste-test the crisps six times a day.

11. All Walkers products' expiry dates are on Saturdays, because of the way the factory weeks run (it has nothing to do with pub stock checks).

12. Walkers salt and vinegar have always come in a green packet, and cheese and onion in a blue packet. They did not switch over.

13. Golden Wonder crisps were launched in 1947, a year before Walkers began manufacturing crisps.

14. The name Ribena comes from the Latin word for blackcurrants, "Ribes Nigrum".

15. In WW2 the government gave Ribena to British children for free as a vitamin C supplement.

16. If you've wondered why you can't find Lilt on holiday, that is because it is only sold in the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar, and the Seychelles.

17. The recipe for Irn-Bru is known by only three people in the world. The secret has been passed down from one generation of the Barr family to another since 1901.


18. Cadbury Dairy Milk came off the shelves in 1941 when the government banned manufacturers from using fresh chocolate. It was replaced with Ration Chocolate, which was made with skimmed milk powder.

19. Freddo bars were originally invented in Australia in 1930. A chocolate mouse was originally suggested, but the inventor suggested that "women and children were afraid of mice and a chocolate mouse would not sell".

20. Over 1 billion chocolate fingers are consumed each year in the UK.

21. Jaffa Cakes are classified as cakes, rather than biscuits, despite residing in the biscuit aisle. For this reason they are not subject to VAT like luxury chocolate biscuits.

22. Marmite is made from the yeast by-product of breweries, with added salt, spices, and vitamins.

23. Marmite was included in soldiers rations in WW1.

24. Twiglets are not flavoured with Marmite, but a similar yeast extract.

25. The tangy flavour of HP Sauce comes from a combination of tomatoes, vinegar, dates, and tamarind, among other things.

26. The vegetables included in Branston Pickle are carrot, swede, onion, cauliflower, marrow, and gherkin.


27. McVitie's made the Queen and Prince Phillip's wedding cake. A chocolatier commissioned by McVitie's also made William and Kate's alternative chocolate wedding cake, which contained 1,700 rich tea biscuits.

28. The jam inside Jammie Dodgers is a raspberry-flavoured apple jam.

29. The name for the original cheeky biscuit came from The Beano's "Roger the Dodger" comic strip.

30. Wine gums don't actually contain alcohol.

31. Jelly Babies were first launched in the UK by Bassett's as "Peace Babies" in 1918 to commemorate the end of the first wold war.

32. Kia-Ora takes its name from "kia ora", a Māori language greeting that means "be well/healthy".

33. And apparently, they do "drink Um Bongo in the Congo", as this blogger excitedly wrote in 2011.