Sweet deal for Yorkshire as Haribo announces new factory in Castleford

Yorkshire has a long history of manufacturing treats to feed the British sweet tooth. Jonathan Brown finds out more

German sweet manufacturer Haribo’s motto is suitably to the point: Haribo makes children happy – and adults as well. The opening of a new £92m plant was generating suitable levels of contentment all round in Castleford, West Yorkshire yesterday bringing as it does the promise of 300 much-needed new jobs.

But the decision to site the factory in the town was part testament to the gummy bears’ extraordinary ability to satisfy the globe’s yearning for chewy sweeties but also a reflection of Yorkshire’s historic role as the global centre of the confectionery industry.

In its 20th century heyday, factories in the White Rose County were working overtime to meet the inexorable demand for sugar products. In York, Quaker companies such as Terry’s and Rowntree’s employed thousands of workers turning out Kit Kats and Chocolate Oranges.

At Pontefract, there were 13 factories involved in the ancient liquorice industry. Nearby Castelford manufactured Trebor mints whilst John Mackintosh turned Halifax into real-life Toffee Town.

Chocolate and confectionery historian Sophie Jewett, founder of the York Cocoa House, said there were many reasons why sweet making was to become such big business.

“Yorkshire is the confectionery capital of the world and it is very much still a hub of industry, technology as well as new artistic and cultural enterprise,” she said.

The county was an area rich in agriculture and later industry. Local Quaker families eschewed alcohol but embraced the drinking of chocolate when it arrived in Britain and later set up their own factories. Meanwhile, monastic traditions of distillation and apothecaries employed mint and liquorice, and the elixirs were later mixed with sugar to make popular consumer products for the new factory classes.

“There was a lot of demand for skills in York which was very cosmopolitan and then as new towns and cities became industrialised people took these skills away to meet the demand from factory workers who now had much higher levels of disposable income,” Ms Jewett added.

More recent years has seen consolidation in the British confectionary industry. Huge international brands such as Nestle bought out Rowntree’s in York, now its international research and development HQ, but also a centre for Kit Kat production.

US food giant Kraft acquired Terry’s, controversially shutting down chocolate production in York in 2005. In 2008, Blackpool-based confectionery firm Tangerine bought Monkhill Confectionery from Cadbury Schweppes for £58m. It had three factories in Yorkshire employing nearly 800 people.

Haribo, meanwhile, was founded by Hans Reigel in 1920, armed with little more than a sack of sugar, a copper kettle and a rolling pin. It produced its first golden bear in 1960 since when it has made enough of the sweets to stretch around the world four times.

The company bought into Dunhills in 1972, owner of Pontefract Cakes, acquiring full control of the company in 1992. Today it employs 540 staff at the site. The new plant, for which the company received £6.4m from the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF), will make 48,000 tonnes of sweets per year. It is due to open in 2015. The announcement of the new site was welcomed by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Herwig Vennekens, managing director of Haribo UK, said: “Our existing factory is near capacity and so this new site will allow for progressive expansion, enabling us to continue to extend our offering and to develop new and innovative products.”

We look at some of Haribo's most popular UK TV ads:

Haribo Starmix

 

Haribo - Just too good

 

Haribo Tangfastic

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Sport
video
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal